Tuesday, October 4, 2011
More Budget Cuts Could be Coming for WDFW
With Washington State's expected budget shortfall rising to 2 billion for the upcoming year, the state is looking everywhere for cuts and budget savings. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has already weathered major cuts to their budget and staff but may, once again be on the cutting block as the legislature and governor look to balance the state's budget. While the final budget has yet to shake out budget cuts at WDFW would likely mean even less funding for monitoring, enforcement and the planning and implementation of recovery projects for listed salmon and steelhead.
The state is also considering significant cuts to its most sacred cow, hatchery production. Pre-recession WDFW spent approximately $52 million each year on hatcheries, while that number will undoubtedly come down with reduced funding, the state should be looking at the recession as an opportunity to shift salmon management in our state towards a more holistic approach of allowing wild salmon and steelhead to recover naturally, without the hindrance of expensive hatchery programs that depress the productivity and resilience of wild stocks.
Long term the state needs to look at funding WDFW at least partly through revenue from license sales. Most anglers in Washington would likely be willing to shell out another $20-40 a year for a license if they knew it was going into the management of their local fisheries, rather than into the general fund.
More in an article from the Seattle Times: