Governor’s budget cuts to natural resources

December 15th, 2010  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, State Agencies  |  1 Comment

Gov. Chris Gregoire released her proposed budget this morning. The proposal, which is the first draft that will be edited by the legislature, cuts more than 25 percent from the combined natural resources budgets. The total allocation from general fund spending for natural resources is reduced by $122.5 million down to $331.7 million.

Here is the budget summary (natural resources starts on page 21).

Here is more details on how those cuts happen. First, the governor proposes raising funds:

Impose cost-recovery fees for:

  • Water rights applications. (shift $5.6 million from GF-S to Water Rights Processing Account)
  • Commercial fishing licenses. (shift $1.1 million from GF-S to State Wildlife Account)
  • Hydraulic project approvals. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will
  • propose legislation to create fees to offset General Fund-State funding and streamline the application process. (shift $3.8 million from GF-S to Hydraulic Project Approval Account)
  • Silviculture burning permits. The Department of Natural Resources is directed to charge fees that generate revenue to cover program costs. (shift $750,000 GF-S to Air Pollution Control Account)

And, here is a summary of the cuts:

Reduce spending at the Department of Ecology for activities that can be delayed or performed less frequently, including water rights processing, litter pickup, and flood control and watershed planning grants. ($5.3 million GF-S; $4.0 million Litter Account; $2.0 million Flood Control Assistance Account)

Reduce staffing, hours of operation and other administrative costs at small agencies. ($2.3 million GF-S; $519,000 other funds) Reduce funding for agricultural fairs, which will result in smaller and fewer county fairs. ($3.0 million Fair Fund)

Reduce expenses for fire control, such as discretionary training for firefighters, and freeze wages for exempt firefighters. ($1.6 million

Reduce General Fund-State support of the Department of Natural Resources’ Natural Heritage Program, which will lead to fewer updates to information on native plant and animal species and ecosystems. ($537,000 GF-S)

Reduce grants to conservation districts and encourage efficiencies such as merging. ($400,000 GF-S)

Shift $9.5 million of base funding for environmental programs at the Department of Ecology from General Fund-State to dedicated accounts. (from GF-S to State and Local Toxics Control Accounts)
Shift funding to achieve permanent, stable support for oil spill prevention and preparedness. ($5.0 million from Oil Spill Prevention Account to State Toxics Control Account)

Create the “Explore Washington” pass to offset the General Fund-State reductions in the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife. (shift $1.6 million GF-S to State Wildlife Account)


  1. House releases two-year budget, impacts to natural resources agencies :: NWIFC Policy Tracker says:

    April 4th, 2011 at 2:44 pm (#)

    […] The governor released another version of the budget late last year, which can be found here. Here is our roundup of that proposal. […]