Monday, December 20, 2010

Governor Plans to Merge WDFW with other Agencies

In a plan released last week, Washington State governor Chris Gregoire proposed to merge 21 state agencies into 9. With the state facing record budget shortfalls, state lawmakers have been forced to think critically about the role of many state agencies and how best to implement consolidation and still provide essential services. Under the plan the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would be merged with State Parks and Recreation, The Recreation and Conservation Office and the Department of Natural Resources law enforcement under the banner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The state's budget woes have hit WDFW hard over the past year forcing them to cut staff and take a hard look at many programs. With an emphasis on saving money and reducing waste the department should cut many of its hatchery programs. In puget sound in particular the state releases millions of fish annually but poor marine survival means that hatchery programs see very few fish returning. A state auditors report last year revealed that the average blackmouth caught in Puget Sound costs taxpayers nearly 800 dollars. Not only are these hatchery programs wasteful, but they're hindering the recovery of ESA listed wild steelhead and chinook in the sound. More information in the Seattle Times.

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