Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $2 Million in Grants for Critical Columbia River Basin Restoration Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that over $2 million in grants are headed to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington to support restoration projects critical to the health of the Columbia River Basin.

The funding includes over $800,000 in grants for six organizations and government agencies in Oregon, which will use the grants for a wide variety of projects aimed at assessing and reducing the presence of toxins in the watershed.

“Our rivers and waterways are at the heart of our communities, and if they are dirty and polluted, our homes and schools and businesses are dirty and polluted,” said Merkley. “A clean and healthy Columbia River Basin is good for our health, our environment, and our economy.”

“A healthy Columbia River Basin cleaned of toxins benefits Oregon by protecting our natural treasures so essential to our state’s quality of life and economy,” Wyden said. “These restoration resources now flowing into our state add up to a greener and healthier future for all Oregonians.”

In 2016, Senator Merkley—who serves as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee—amended the Clean Water Act to create the Columbia River Basin Restoration Program. Since then, he has used his position on the Appropriations Committee to fight for robust funding for the program.

Toxic pollutants can accumulate in water, sediment, and fish tissues—threatening to decimate natural ecosystems and also risking the health of tribal communities and other Oregonians who consume affected fish populations.

Oregon’s awardees are as follows:

  • PNW Pollution Prevention Resource Center, in the Portland metro area, is receiving $88,304 to reduce pollutants from automotive and landscaping industries
  • Salmon Safe in Oregon, in eastern Washington, and northern Idaho, is receiving $200,000 to address pesticide and erosion reduction, habitat protection and enhancement, and facilitate farmer certification
  • Multnomah County, in the lower and middle Columbia River, Deschutes, Willamette, Hood watersheds, and southwest Washington, is receiving $174,045 to complete pesticide reduction outreach with a focus on the Latino community
  • Lower Columbia River Estuary Program, in St. Helens and Rainier, Oregon and Longview, Washington, is receiving $67,597 to fund the deployment of Grattix boxes that will reduce zinc and copper run-off to the lower Columbia River
  •  Cascade Pacific Resource, Conservation & Development, in Eugene, Springfield, and Lane County, is receiving $199,999 to build green stormwater infrastructure to reduce metals, PAHs, and pesticides in run-off
  • Columbia Riverkeeper, in Hood River and Wasco Counties and Klickitat County, Washington, is receiving $91,991 to fund pollution prevention education with a focus on youth outreach.