Ninety-five salmon habitat restoration projects in 30 counties around the state will receive a total of nearly $18 million in grants, Washington’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced this week.

Three-quarters of those projects will work toward restoring Chinook salmon populations, a dietary staple of southern resident orca whales.

“This funding helps protect one of our most beloved legacies,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Together we’re taking a step forward for salmon, and in turn dwindling southern resident orca whales, while also looking back to ensure we’re preserving historic tribal cultural traditions and upholding promises made more than a century ago.”

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board was founded in 1999. Since then, it has granted more than $700 million in state and federal funding to more than 2,650 projects.

This recent round of funding will go toward the removal of barriers that prevent salmon migration, the increase of the amount and types of salmon habitat, and the conservation of areas where salmon can spawn, feed, rest, and hide from predators.

Grants are being awarded to projects in the following South Sound area counties in the following amounts:

Grays Harbor County: $437,633

King County: $645,895

Kitsap County: $531,047

Lewis County: $964,520

Mason County: $783,956

Pierce County: $1,050,095

Thurston County: $308,390

See the full list of projects and counties here.

“We are committed to restoring salmon populations back to levels that support communities and support people,” said David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “This funding enables local communities to restore the places salmon live, while also initiating a cascade of other benefits, from less flooding to better water quality, more water in rivers for salmon and other fish, and a boost to our statewide economy.”

According to the board, studies show that every $1 million spent on restoring watershed areas creates between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs and up to $2.5 million in economic activity.

By those numbers, the recent grants should result in approximately 470 new jobs and nearly $50 million of economic activity. Those jobs include contractors, consultants, field crew members, and more. Additionally, the board estimates that about 80 percent of the funds remain in the county where the project is being carried out.