Synthesis of selected NEP Watershed Lead Organization grants administered by the Department of Ecology part 2

A 2023 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute synthesizes past Watershed Lead Organization Program grants to support the EPA-funded Land Development and Cover and Floodplains and Estuaries Implementation Strategies. The report offers lessons learned from the habitat restoration and land acquisition-focused grants.

Report cover
Report cover


The Habitat Strategic Initiative Lead tasked the Puget Sound Institute at UW Tacoma (PSI) with synthesizing the results of 13 riparian and restoration grants awarded funding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the National Estuary Program (NEP) Watershed Lead Organization grant program (Watershed grant program). Between 2011 and 2016, the Watershed grant program, administered by the Washington Department of Commerce and the Washington Department of Ecology, distributed over $23 million in Puget Sound Geographic Program funds to support 85 projects to implement recovery priorities identified by the Puget Sound Partnerships’ Action Agenda, incorporating watershed-scale strategies to protect and restore Puget Sound.

For this portion of the Watershed LO grant program, PSI focused on 13 riparian and restoration grants that occurred from 2014 to 2021, totaling approximately $6.8 million. 

The Watershed LO grants funded a range of activities included reach-scale planning, project design and scoping, land acquisition, riparian restoration activities (such as beaver management activities, invasive plant removal, stream re-meanderings, log jam installation, culvert removals and more), landowner and community outreach, data analysis and mapping, and water quality analysis, among others. 

Grant locations ranged throughout Puget Sound from the Samish River watershed to the North Olympic peninsula to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Nisqually and Nooksack watersheds. 


Map of Puget Sound Watersheds where grant activity occurred
Map of Puget Sound watersheds where grant activity occurred. Map prepared by Kevin Bogue, Puget Sound Institute.



Wright, C.W. 2023. Selected NEP Watershed Lead Organization Grants Administered by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Ecology Part 2. University of Washington Tacoma, Puget Sound Institute.

View the full report

About the Author: 
Christopher Wally Wright is a research scientist at the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute focusing on environmental policy.