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Recommendation: 5

Status: Pending

Develop incentives to encourage voluntary actions to protect habitat.


Action 1

State agencies should identify and implement incentives for landowners to voluntarily protect shorelines and habitats to benefit salmon and Southern Resident orcas.

Action 2

Develop cooperative conservation programs and increase funding for existing ones.

Implementation Details

  • Salmon recovery regions and state and federal agencies should develop a 10-year funding proposal for incentives by June 2020 to complement habitat restoration and acquisition. The Legislature should allocate funding in the 2019–21 biennium for implementation in select watersheds in Puget Sound, Washington Coast, and Columbia Basin.
  • The Legislature and federal agencies, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service, should create additional mechanisms and increase funding for cooperative conservation programs (i.e., fish screens, riparian areas, commodity funding for voluntary riparian implementation to Site Potential Tree Height, private fish passage upgrades, and enhanced wildlife forage budget for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife areas with estuary restoration potential) implemented by conservation districts, lead entities, regional fisheries enhancement groups, and individual landowners. Existing programs include Floodplains by Design, the Shore Friendly Program, Forest Riparian Easement Program, Rivers Habitat Open Space Program, and the Conservation Reserve and Enhancement Program.

Recent Progress


  • The Office of Financial Management is evaluating riparian incentives and regulatory programs. Riparian areas are vegetated areas alongside streams that are important for keeping the water cool for salmon and supplying habitat for the insects salmon eat. The evaluation will be posted here when complete.


In 2021, the following state funding was secured for habitat protection:

  • The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program’s riparian funding received $4 million ($1.4 estimated to Puget Sound). This program provides funding to landowners to plant buffers on the banks of waterways to improved stream conditions and habitat.
  • $1.4 million was provided for the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program to buy conservation easements on private land to protect river floodplains and habitat.
  • The Voluntary Stewardship Program received $8.4 million ($1.1 million to Puget Sound) to expand the program and engage landowners of critical areas.
  • $2 million ($1 million to Puget Sound) was received to help landowners in conservation efforts.
  • The Regional Conservation Partnership Program received $7 million ($1.75 million to Puget Sound) to fund watershed-scale projects that address priority natural resource concerns.
  • The Natural Resource Investment program received $4 million ($1.1 million to Puget Sound) to construct conservation projects on private land.
  • The Washington State Department of Natural Resources received $6 million ($1.3 million estimated to Puget Sound) for the Forestry Riparian Easement Program. This program provides funding to landowners to plant plants along streams on private forestland to improve stream conditions and habitat.


In 2020, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program adopted the Shore Friendly Program, a program that educates and provides incentives to shoreline homeowners.

Southern Resident Orca Recovery 10

Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program Video



Southern Resident Orca Recovery 9

Seeking Softer Shores on Puget Sound Story Map

More details may be found in the progress reports in the resources library.