Date: Monday, October 3, 2022
SEATTLE — Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz today wrapped a multi-day visit to Washington where she highlighted historic investments being made through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program to conserve ecosystems and economies and support new urban parks.
On Friday, Assistant Secretary Estenoz toured the South Fork Tieton River restoration project in Yakima to spotlight a $400,000 investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will place the South Fork Tieton River back into its original channel, eliminate the fish passage barrier that forms as Rimrock Reservoir is drawn down and protect and restore trust resources and the treaty-reserved tribal rights to harvest fish. The project will advance initiatives of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, a collaborative framework for balancing conservation efforts, water supplies and economic opportunity in the Yakima River Basin.
The Department is investing $200 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into the National Fish Passage Program over the next five years to bolster efforts to address outdated, unsafe or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s river and streams, which will help restore fish passages and aquatic connectivity while addressing public safety and enhancing recreation.
Today, Assistant Secretary Estenoz joined federal, state, city and community leaders to highlight a new $192 million funding opportunity through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program to support urban parks and equitable access to the outdoors. These efforts advance the America the Beautiful initiative’s goals to advance equity, biodiversity and climate change through collaborative and locally led conservation. The leaders toured Garfield Park in Seattle, which was awarded over $2 million from the program in May to turn the area into a high quality, comprehensive, multi-use park.
The group also visited Skyway Park, another recipient of ORLP funding, where investments will be used to make several improvements to the park, specifically creating a new pedestrian entry way into the park along a vacated street right of way, replacing an aging play area, repurposing poorly draining ballfields to a grassy playfield, upgrading park infrastructure, and creating a new mini soccer arena.
The ORLP program, established in 2014, enables urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities.