Wenatchee man picked for state salmon board

— Governor Jay Inslee has appointed long-time Wenatchee resident Bob Bugert to serve on the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board was created by the Legislature in 1999 to administer state and federal funds to protect or restore salmon habitat. The Recreation and Conservation Office provides staff support to the funding board and administers the salmon recovery grants.

Bugert is the executive director of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust. The Land Trust is the regional leader in creating sustainable communities with beautiful natural areas, clean air and water, strong economies, and abundant fish and wildlife. Before his work with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Bugert served for nine years as a policy advisor in the Washington Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bob to the board,” said David Troutt, chair of the 10-member salmon recovery board. “Bob understands the issues the State and regions are facing in trying to bring salmon back to their once plentiful level. His understanding of issues particular to eastern Washington also will help ensure the board’s decisions represent all areas of the state.”

“I am honored to serve on the Salmon Recovery Funding Board,” Bugert said, “as it has a solid track record of supporting projects that have strong technical background and have been developed at the community level. I believe this funding to recover salmon also is an investment into vibrant local economies, and we must make sure that the local communities are always engaged in the funding decisions.”

As the director of the land trust, Bugert has worked on a number of issues related to land and water conservation and restoration, with particular focus on salmon recovery. He is a graduate of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation, and has master and bachelor degrees in fishery and wildlife biology. Bugert and his wife Carolyn have lived with their three boys in the Wenatchee Valley since 1990.

As Washington’s population has grown, its salmon populations have dwindled. In 1991, the federal government declared the first salmon in the Pacific Northwest as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. By 1999, salmon populations had dwindled so much that salmon and bull trout were listed as threatened or endangered in nearly three-fourths of the state. The Legislature created the Salmon Recovery Funding Board in 1999 to manage state and federal funds to reverse the decline of salmon populations. Since its formation, the salmon recovery board has awarded more than $625 million for nearly 2,500 projects.

Grant applicants develop habitat restoration and protection projects based on regional recovery plans that have been approved by the federal government and are designed to fix the problems inhibiting salmon populations in that region.

“The projects are brought forward by local communities,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office. “Then the projects are ranked at a regional level and reviewed by state scientists. Bringing important community projects forward and vetting them with local and state scientists ensures that the board is funding only the best projects, and only those that will help us recovery salmon.”

The iconic salmon are important to Washington, not only as a source of food, culture and heritage, but also as an economic driver. Today, recreational salmon fishing alone creates nearly $130 million in economic activity each year.

About the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust

With a current membership more than 1,100, the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is a local non-profit working to conserve land, water, and the Washington way of life through voluntary land agreements, education, partnerships, stewardship and well planned growth. The land trust works collaboratively with local landowners and communities to identify and protect the region’s most important natural landscapes forever. The land trust has worked with conservation minded landowners to protect more than 6,000 acres of diverse habitats in the two-county area. For more information on the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, visit www.cdlandtrust.org

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