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 steals 85-year-old’s cell phone | Police blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Nov. 26 through 28.

The 2019-20 county budget of $11.7 billion dollars passed by the King County Council. The King County budget priorities are affordable housing and homelessness, public safety, local services, expanding transit access and options, environment, parks and recreation, and equity an health. Graphic courtesy of King County
King County council passes 2019-20 budget

Budget priorities include affordable housing and homelessness, public safety and expanding transit access and options.

The Centralia Power Plant is a coal-burning plant owned by TransAlta which supplies 380 megawatts to Puget Sound Energy. It is located in Lewis County and slated to shut down by 2025. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo
National report outlines climate change’s course for the Northwest

More fires, floods and drought appear to be on their way for Washington state.

Bothell awarded more than $4.5 million for three priority projects

The funds will be available in 2021 and 2022 for varying projects, including a Bothell Way widening.

Bothell buys back proposed hotel land

A development deal to bring two hotels to downtown Bothell has fallen through.

Suspect rips up resident’s rose bushes | Police blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Nov. 20 through 22.

Construction on Northeast 188th Street to begin this spring

New sidewalks and bike lanes will connect Bothell High School to downtown.

The Council recognized the AFIS program as it celebrates 30 years of assisting law enforcement throughout King County. Councilmembers, AFIS staff and King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht join AFIS regional manager, Carol Gillespie. Photo courtesy of King County.
King County Council recognizes county’s Automated Fingerprint Information System

For three decades, AFIS has helped law enforcement solve thousands of cases.

‘This might have been a once in a generation opportunity’: Kenmore’s Lakepointe deal grinds to a halt

City officials unsure of what comes next for the more than 50 acre industrial site.

King County Flood Control District approves 2019 Budget on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of King County Flood Control District.
King County Flood Control District approves $93 million budget

The 2019 District Budget will maintain current flood protection services.

Student veterans receive new resource center at UW Bothell

The Veterans Resource Center at UW Bothell was created after student veterans indicated they wanted a space designated for themselves.

UW Bothell Student Veterans Services held an Open House and Coffee event during this year’s Welcome Week and remains the main arm in helping veterans. The new resource center adds to this support. Photo courtesy of Marc Studer, UW Bothell
UW Bothell opens new veterans resource center on campus

The new Veteran Resource Center is designed to connect veterans and build relationships.