When we talk about Salmon Recovery in the Yakima Basin, you may hear us
refer to the “Washington Way.” When the Endangered Species Act went into
effect in 1999, Washington State had a choice about how to address
recovery. We could let the Feds take a top-down approach, or we could
work with NOAA Fisheries to enable locally-based groups to write their
own local recovery plans for ESA-listed species. Washington State chose
the second option and has created an unprecedented, grassroots effort
that sustains one of the most complex and successful fish and wildlife
recovery efforts in the nation.
The 25 Lead Entities
around the state are a key part of the Washington Way. Lead Entities
bring together Tribes, federal and state agencies, local governments,
citizens, non-profits, business, and technical experts to recommend
projects for Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) funding. The Yakima
Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board functions as the Lead Entity for
the Yakima Basin, one of the largest lead entity areas in the state
Each year, the SRFB awards about 1.2 million to projects solicited,
reviewed and recommended by our Lead Entity. This local process ensures
that SRFB projects are part of a scientifically sound salmon recovery
strategy and are supported by local communities.
Our Citizens Committee
plays a pivotal role in our local grant review process. It is comprised
of a diverse and committed group of volunteers including farmers,
attorneys, retired engineers and agency officials, business owners, and
writers. Due to this diversity, the Citizens Committee members often are
the best judges of the community’s social, cultural, and economic
values. Their review ensures that projects have the community support
they need to succeed. There are sixteen members; four each from
Kittitas, Yakima, and Benton Counties and the Yakama Nation.
Participants represent local governments, conservation districts,
tribes, environmental groups, business interests, landowners, citizens,
volunteer groups, regional fish enhancement groups, and others.