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.

More in News

Suspect arrested for DUI, nearly four times legal limit | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter for Sept. 24 through 26, courtesy of the RPD blog.

Rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

Aerotek, TEKsystems hold charity golf tournament

Aerotek and TEKsystems held its Wounded Warrior and Team Gleason Golf Tournament… Continue reading

‘Technologist and philanthropist’ Paul Allen dies at 65

The Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner died from cancer on Monday.

State Supreme Court strikes down death penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Redmond aims to make parks, trails more accessible

The city is developing an ADA transition plan, which may extend to all facilities.

Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on Oct. 2.
Mayor presents $797 million preliminary biennial budget

Redmond Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget on Oct. 2.

Mayor John Marchione urged all residents to “speak out against domestic violence and support LifeWire’s efforts to prevent and end domestic abuse,” on Oct. 2. Photo courtesy of LifeWire.
Redmond mayor proclaims October as Domestic Violence Action Month

Andrew Farrell, a LifeWire board director, helps the city council proclaim Domestic Violence Action Month on Oct. 2.

Police recovered this stolen saw, among other expensive tools, when they arrested the suspected tool thief. Courtesy of the Redmond Police Department
Redmond’s Pro-Act team nabs tool thief in latest bust

The Redmond Police Department’s Pro-Act unit has been conducting crime investigations for 13 years.

Most Read