What is a Lead Entity?
Lead Entities are local, watershed-based organizations that solicit, develop, prioritize, and submit habitat protection and restoration projects for funding to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). They consist of: a coordinator (usually a county, conservation district, or tribal staff); a committee of local technical personnel; and a committee of local citizens. The local technical experts assist in development of salmon recovery strategies, and identification and prioritization of projects. The local citizen committee is responsible for developing the final prioritized project list and submitting it to the SRFB for funding consideration.
How Are Lead Entities Formed and Supported?
In 1998, the Washington State Legislature enacted HB 2496 to empower citizens at the community level to engage in salmon recovery through a locally driven habitat protection and restoration program. The legislation recognized that active local participation is the key to ensuring public participation in, and support for, salmon recovery. Lead entity organizations are in place to perform a necessary role in salmon habitat recovery activities in Washington State as provided in Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 77.85 Salmon Recovery (HB2496). The 27 current Lead Entities operate with funds provided by the state Legislature and administered through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).
How Does the Lead Entity Process Work?
Lead Entities develop local salmon recovery strategies based on science and assessments in their local areas. Lead Entities facilitate the recruitment of local project sponsors to propose actions to implement strategies. The Lead Entity convenes a technical committee to review proposed projects and actions and a citizen committee to prioritize projects and actions in a project list. The project list is submitted for consideration to the SRFB, which must provide funding in accordance with the prioritized list. Project sponsors include public or private groups or individuals, such as a Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups, cities, counties, tribes, state agencies, or private parties. In salmon recovery regions of the state, Lead Entity strategies serve as the foundation of the recovery planning process. The 27 Lead Entities continue to play a critical role in effective implementation of recovery plans statewide and to have a strong voice in the each of the regional recovery board planning processes.