Lead Entities are watershed-based salmon recovery groups created by local communities in Washington State via RCW 77.85.050 to work directly with their communities to ensure we are making smart investments in salmon recovery and fund the top priority projects. There are currently 25 state recognized Lead Entities contracted through Washington State’s Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to facilitate the salmon habitat project identification and prioritization process for the watersheds that make up their local Lead Entity area. In addition to developing salmon habitat project lists, Lead Entities work with their local community to build support for local salmon recovery projects and work with local technical experts to develop and improve their science–based salmon recovery strategy.
Lead Entities in a regional salmon recovery plan area also work with their region to ensure that their process and projects are consistent with the regional recovery plan. These Lead Entity committee groups perform an essential role in salmon recovery in Washington State. Established in law, they consist of: A lead entity coordinator, committee of local community and technical experts. These groups are the backbone for locally-based recovery efforts, bringing together tribes, federal and state agencies, local governments, citizens, nonprofits, business, and technical experts to make local decisions. Lead entities are funded by the Washington State Legislature and the federal government through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office reviews and approves projects and is responsible for the contracts distributing funding.