Lead Entity

In 1998, the Washington State Legislature enacted ESHB 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.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife administers grants to the Lead Entities with funds provided by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Lead Entities are funded to solicit salmon habitat projects and to establish priorities for projects that are submitted. Project selection is guided by a habitat strategy that each Lead Entity has developed to address problems specific to its watershed. Locally based citizen and technical committees strive to identify those projects that are both scientifically sound and in harmony with the needs of the community. In addition, projects must have the support of affected landowners so that implementation is likely to succeed. Under this process, state agencies play an important role in providing both financial and technical support to Lead Entities. (WDFW Lead Entity Program 2002 Report and Evaluation)

In Okanogan County, Okanogan County has partnered with the Colville Confederated Tribes for the Methow/Okanogan Lead Entity.