Recognizing the Role of People for the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative Can Enhance Funding to Coastal Communities
By Melissa Watkinson
During my Hershman fellowship at The Nature Conservancy I have had the opportunity to work on bringing people more into the picture for the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative (WCRI). If you aren’t familiar with the program, WCRI was developed with the intention to create an avenue for project funding along the Washington Coast where restoration impacts can be tremendous, economies are struggling, and potential funding sources are limited. Projects proposed in WCRI are anticipated to have direct benefits for both the local community and the local environment. This year, the WCRI proposal includes a request for funding of about $12.5 million from the State Capital Budget, with nearly 18 projects that span the entire coast.
To further legislative support for program funding, I have worked to collect evidence of the community impacts and benefits of WCRI. Through interviews with project proponents, site tours, and a literature review, it has become clear that WCRI projects can not only lead to expanding job growth opportunities, but that unanticipated benefits to the community are possible for both the short and long-term. These include diversifying economic and cultural access, connecting people to nature and to each other, and increasing security and access to basic needs, such as housing.
The WCRI package shows the abundant needs, potential and benefits of restoration projects on the Washington Coast. The WCRI approach is to ensure these projects have a direct and lasting benefit to the local ecosystems, economies, and communities.
As deadlines for submitting the final packet for WCRI are approaching, you can find updated information on the progress of this study and other aspects of WCRI on Washington Nature Conservancy’s blog at http://www.washingtonnature.org/marine/coastalrestoration/main/.
The contents of this website, including the blog, forum, and links to other sites, are provided for informational use and may not reflect the positions and priorities of all network members, including Washington Sea Grant and the Department of Ecology. Comments posted to this site do not constitute formal public comment. Ecology, Sea Grant and network members do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on any linked websites.