Kilmer Secures New Federal Funding to Support Duckabush Estuary Restoration Project

House Passes $1,000,000 to Support Power Line Relocation Project

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed critical funding that has been championed by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) to support the Mason PUD 1’s power line relocation project in conjunction with the Duckabush Estuary Restoration Project. The restoration project aims to reconnect the Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains and wetlands by modifying local roads, elevating Highway 101, and rerouting utilities. The $1 million in federal funding will assist Mason PUD 1’s efforts to relocate the distribution power line in the region, in coordination with the restoration project, in order to continue providing service to residences and businesses.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Biden in the coming days.

“We all know that recovering our salmon populations requires restoring critical habitat. That’s why the Duckabush Estuary Restoration Project is a big deal. As investments are made to reroute utilities and take other steps to make this project a success, it’s important that the federal government is a strong partner so that the costs don’t fall on local ratepayers,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I’m thrilled that the House has taken this important step to support Mason PUD’s efforts. I’ll keep working to get this measure signed into law in the coming days.”

“We would like to thank Representative Kilmer and the House Appropriations Committee for advancing much-needed federal funding for Mason PUD 1’s power line relocation project. The Duckabush Utility Relocation project would have had devastating impacts on our electric budget and electric retail rates, had we been forced to fund it out of pocket. The utility relocation is part of a larger state and federal joint estuary restoration and highway relocation effort and our small utility has been wrapped into the scope. This support and funding will be instrumental in ensuring that the utilities are relocated is a safe, reliable and affordable manner,” said Mason PUD 1 General Manager Kristin Masteller.

“The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group is grateful to Congressman Kilmer for his leadership. His bold action on this legislation has secured this much needed utility work that will not only result in making sure our rural communities secure safe, efficient and reliable electricity, but also allow for a multiple benefits habitat restoration project for fish and wildlife populations that are crucial to the vitality of the people of Hood Canal,” said Mendy Harlow, Executive Director of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG), is pursuing the restoration project on the Duckabush River estuary in Jefferson County in order to reconnect the Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains and wetlands. This effort aims to improve the Duckabush estuary ecosystem to create more viable habitat for fish and wildlife and benefit the local community by reducing severe flooding events that occur at the mouth of the Duckabush river. The restoration project includes modifying local roads and elevating Highway 101 onto a bridge spanning the area where freshwater from the Duckabush River meets saltwater of Hood Canal.

Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process.

The Community Project Funding request was supported by: Mason County, Jefferson County, Jefferson County Public Utility District, State Representative Drew MacEwen, State Senator Tim Sheldon, Skokomish Indian Tribe, Citizens and members of the Hood Canal Improvement Club, Washington Department of Transportation, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group.