Senate approves Wiggins’ salmon bill

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The state Senate voted 23-10 Monday to approve legislation by North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins, D-Eureka, that aims to enhance efforts to save the state’s imperiled salmon and steelhead populations.

Currently, the state Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is authorized to make grants and loans for a variety of projects to improve coastal water quality, improve fisheries, protect ocean ecosystems and similar purposes. These projects are funded through the Ocean Protection Trust Fund, which is largely supported by Proposition 84, and has about $45 million in unallocated funds.

Wiggins’ bill, Senate Bill 539, would add projects to restore native salmon and steelhead trout populations to the list of eligible uses of the Ocean Protection Trust Fund.

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