OLYMPIA The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a public webinar for 7 p.m. Monday, July 23, to discuss current funding challenges and opportunities for the State of Washington to invest in fish and wildlife management and conservation of lands and habitat.
To take part in the webinar, the public should visit this link (https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8360838542216730371) also available at wdfw.wa.gov and follow the instructions there to register. Registration via the website is available now through Monday.
Alternatively, for those who only wish to listen in, please call +1 (415) 655-0052 after 6:45 p.m. Monday and enter code 281-297-953 to participate.
During the webinar, Nate Pamplin, WDFW policy director, will describe the work of independent consultants and the agency’s Budget and Policy Advisory Group to explain the causes of a projected $30 million gap in funding faced by the department over the two-year budget cycle that begins in July 2019.
Pamplin will describe planned budget cuts and proposed funding increases that are designed to eliminate the shortfall and ensure the department has adequate funding in the future.
He said several factors have caused the shortfall, including:
Several one-time funding patches approved by lawmakers in recent years will expire soon.
WDFW revenue from the sale of recreational licenses has not kept pace with spending authorized by the Legislature for managing fish, wildlife, and their habitat.
The department still has not fully recovered from the deep cuts imposed during the recession, and license fees have not been adjusted since 2011.
To meet the challenge, the department is preparing a set of proposals to the Governor and Legislature and is exploring options for recreational license fee increases to avoid reducing service to the public and to fulfill its conservation mission.
Documents describing spending and revenue proposals are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/development/.