For immediate release: February 28, 2023 (23-021)
Contact: DOH Communications
Washington is the nation’s leading producer of farmed shellfish
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is pleased to announce a total of $5.5 million in funding has been awarded to 11 proposed projects that aim to restore and protect shellfish habitats across Puget Sound. Awardees were chosen by DOH’s Shellfish Strategic Initiative Advisory Team using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Puget Sound Geographic Funds.
The winners each submitted Request for Proposals that focused on three key investment priorities:
- Pollution identification and correction,
- Onsite sewage system management, and/or
- Livestock manure management.
Washington has a reputation for safe, wholesome shellfish. Our state is the leading producer of farmed shellfish in the nation, and commercial shellfish is shipped around the world. However, 16,000 acres of Puget Sound shellfish beds are currently closed to harvest due to nonpoint fecal pollution, such as water runoff from agricultural activities, pet waste, boater waste discharge, and onsite sewage systems. Proposals funded by this grant will work to find and fix nonpoint source pollution.
“Washington’s marine waters are a dynamic and vital part of our unique ecosystem,” said Todd Phillips, DOH Office of Environmental Health and Safety director. “We applaud the efforts of each award recipient for their role in water quality improvement and protection. Partnerships with these awardees, along with agencies such as the EPA, emphasize the commitment and importance of advancing our goal of reducing fecal coliform pollution and protecting Puget Sound shellfish growing areas, with the overarching objective of protecting public health.”
DOH is responsible for the safety of commercially harvested shellfish in the state. For more information on current advisories, visit the Washington Shellfish Safety Map, which is updated daily.