Weren’t able to make this month’s five WDFW open houses across the state with new Director Kelly Susewind?
He’s hosting the digital version of one tonight.
Washington hunters, anglers and other residents will be able to hear directly from Susewind on his fish and wildlife management goals and the long-term needs of the state’s critters and maintaining and improving sporting opportunities during an online webinar.
It comes as the director approaches the end of his fourth month in the hot seat and with the agency hoping that next year lawmakers in Olympia will approve boosting its budget by around $60 million to negate a large shortfall due to long-term structural funding issues as well as to enhance hunting and fishing and enhance conservation measures.
About 75 percent of it would come from the state General Fund, the rest from a 15 percent across-the-board increase on license fees, with some caps on hikes.
That will be a heavy lift, but after last year’s proposed increase died and was replaced with a one-time $10 million bump, WDFW was subsequently independently audited for inefficiencies and staffers also identified $2 million in cuts.
Challenges with recovering orcas and other ESA-listed species as well as a changing climate’s effects on fish and wildlife will only make the agency’s job tougher in the future.
Here’s a link to the online event, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
More information is also available here.
But even if you miss tonight’s webinar, there are still two more chances to hear from Susewind and WDFW.
The whole thing will be posted tomorrow, and you can catch up to the director and his minions at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.