WA Fish Wildlife Commission Gives OK To Take 5% Fee Hike Proposal To Legislature


The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved budget and policy proposals for the 2019 legislative session at a meeting Aug. 9-11 in Olympia.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also supported the agency’s long-term funding plan, developed with the help of a broad-based advisory group.

The commission approved the department’s 2019-21 operating budget proposal, which includes a request of more than $30 million to preserve the existing services WDFW provides and an additional $28.2 million to provide new or improved services, such as enhanced fishing and hunting opportunities and conservation work.

WDFW’s budget request would come from primarily state general funds augmented by a small recreational license fee increase. Commissioners gave the OK for the department to pursue during the upcoming legislative session an increase of 5 percent across-the-board on recreational fishing and hunting license fees.

The department’s presentation on its budget and policy proposals can be found on the commission webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2018/08/agenda_aug0918.html.

In other business, the commission approved two land transactions, including:

  • A donation of 94 acres to the department in Whitman County. Pheasants Forever is donating the land, which is adjacent to WDFW’s Revere Wildlife Area. Native grassland will be restored on the property, which supports mule deer, raptors, and game birds such as pheasants and quail.
  • The transfer of the Wiley Slough Pump Station to Skagit County. WDFW will transfer ownership, maintenance, and operations of the pump station, located in the Skagit Wildlife Area. The department used the pump station during a habitat restoration project.

The commission also heard an update from WDFW staff on wolf conservation and management, including the process for developing a post-delisting wolf conservation management plan. During the discussion, commissioners advised the department against changing its method for sharing information on the location of wolves with ranchers during the current grazing season.

Additionally, WDFW staff presented an overview of seals and sea lions in Washington and discussed the implications of recently proposed federal legislation to amend the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Commissioners voiced support for efforts to provide fish and wildlife managers greater flexibility in the management of seal and sea lion predation on salmon stocks.

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