A salmon. File photo

A salmon. File photo

State Fish and Wildlife seeks $60 million in funding

The department is facing a $33 million shortfall and also hopes to secure future funding.

The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife has a plan to make up a $32.9 million deficit in its biennial budget.

The department held a webinar on July 23 with policy director Nate Pamplin who said the deficit stemmed from three major areas including several one-time funding patches expiring, state funding from general taxes and license sales not keeping pace with costs and the deep budget cuts imposed during the recession. State license fees have not been adjusted since 2011.

The 2019-21 budget shortfall is largely due to the one-time payments not occurring again, which included a $10 million allocation for the current biennium. Around $50 million was lost in the 2011-13 biennium stemming from the recession. In 2017 the state Legislature directed the department to find efficiencies in its current operations and develop a long-term funding plan.

An independent consultant hired by the department found its management practices did not contribute to the funding problem but did identify $3 million in spending cuts that will be enacted over the next year that include reducing fish stocking, reducing habitat restoration and grants to volunteer organizations.

Included in this was a proposal to shut down trough hatching operations at the Naches Hatchery and moving it to other hatcheries. IT staff will be made more efficient and habitat monitoring and restoration will be cut.

On top of the $33 million deficit, the department is also asking for an additional $30 million to secure funding for future operations too. This includes $14.7 million for conservation investments into programs like salmon recovery, watershed health, biodiversity and conservation enforcement, $5.6 million to expand fishing opportunities and hatchery improvements, $3.5 million for hunting enhancements including improving law enforcement and access and a to-be-determined amount for orca recovery.

In total, the department needs around $60 million to avoid deep budget cuts and to continue making investments. Around two-thirds of the funding is being requested from the state’s general fund while license fees would make up the remaining third.

Two options are being considered for increasing recreational license fees. One would levy up to a 15 percent increase on all licenses and the other would charge a $10 fee per customer annually, or a $3 temporary fee.

Pamplin said if fees were adjusted annually to reflect cost, they would be 23 percent higher now than they were in 2011. The fees were proposed with concerns about pricing an already dropping number of hunters and anglers out of the market.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in News

The approximate project footprint before it was canceled. Courtesy city of Mercer Island
City officials put an end to Town Center commuter parking, mixed-use project

The city council shared a statement about the cancellation at a July 14 meeting.

Courtesy of governor.wa.gov
Inslee extends pause on counties advancing phases to July 28

A spike in cases could cause hospitalizations and deaths to rise soon.

Slain officer joined Bothell police in 2019; suspect arrested

A man killed a police officer and injured another while trying to flee a traffic stop, police said.

Screenshot of Jessica Lewis and Austin Wenner’s GoFundMe reward page.
No suspects yet in West Seattle suitcase homicides

Families grieve deaths of Jessica Lewis of Federal Way and Austin Wenner of Kent.

Juanita HS “Rebels” mascot finally defeated

School administration will now begin selecting a new mascot.

Elected or appointed? King County weighs sheriff options

Voters could be asked to decide in November.

Courtesy photo
Bothell police officer dies in shootout

Update: Officer identified by police department

Sheen Kaul had been missing since July 12. Photo courtesy Shaarika Kaul’s Facebook page
Update: Missing 26-year-old Mercer Island man has been found

Sheen Kaul had been missing from 11:30 p.m. July 12 until the afternoon of July 14.

New report shows increase in East King County homelessness

East King County includes Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland and Issaquah.

Most Read