Puget Sound Partnership

Natural resources agency budgets to be heard in committee

January 12th, 2015  |  Published in Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership, State Agencies

The ouse General Government & Information Technology Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget requests of several natural resources agencies. The agencies include:

Department of Ecology.
Department of Natural Resources.
Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Department of Agriculture.
State Parks and Recreation Commission.
Puget Sound Partnership

The hearing will be held in House Hearing Room C in the O’Brien Building on January 16 at 8 a.m.

Houses passes operating budget

March 1st, 2012  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership

The house passed an operating budget last night, which included $34 million in cuts to natural resources agencies. Here is the outline (pdf link) of the changes to the natural resources segment of the operating budget.

Here are the summaries for the large natural resources agencies (pdf links):
Ecology
Fish and Wildlife
Natural Resources
Puget Sound Partnership

Governor’s supplemental budget includes $15.6 million cuts to natural resources

November 21st, 2011  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership

The governor’s office released details of the proposed supplemental budget, including more than $15 million in cuts to natural resources management.

Natural resources agency consolidation

October 21st, 2011  |  Published in Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Legislative Meetings, Puget Sound Partnership, State Agencies

The House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee recently held a hearing on natural resources agency consolidation. You can view that hearing in the window below:

Budget reduction documents for Ecology

September 28th, 2011  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership, State Agencies

Earlier this year state agencies were required to file plans with OFM on how they would help bridge the current state budget gap. The Department of Ecology has posted there’s here.

The largest proposed cut from Ecology is in staffing levels:

This reduction request includes permanent staffing cuts that will reduce motor vehicle emission testing, stream flow monitoring, water quality permit administration and water resources management.  It also includes one-time 2011-13 biennium staff cuts focused on air quality, toxic cleanup, and grant management activities.  The reductions include a mix of ongoing, direct General Fund-State cuts and one-time cuts and transfers from dedicated environmental accounts.

Also included in Ecology’s supplimental budget is a new request for funds to satisfy the results of a lawsuit filed by the Squaxin Island Tribe:

Johns Creek Hydrogeology Study – $171,000 State Drought Preparedness Account and $80,000 General Fund-Private/Local.  Ecology, the city of Shelton, and the Port of Shelton will partner to develop a groundwater model for Johns Creek.  The model will give Ecology information to make water management decisions in the basin and help Ecology respond to concerns raised by the Squaxin Island Tribe in their petition for rule-making in the Johns Creek Basin.

OFM has posted links to other agencies that have posted budget reduction memos, none of which are directly natural resources related (some natural resources agency documents have been added).

Governor’s natural resources agencies consolidation plan

December 14th, 2010  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership, State Agencies

The governor released a plan to consolidate some of the larger natural resources agencies into one department. You can read her proposal here.

The Senate Democrat Caucus Blog has a good description:

* Consolidating the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Recreation and Conservation Office and the law enforcement unit of the Department of Natural Resources into a new Department of Conservation and Recreation.

* Consolidating the work of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency and the Department of Health’s reclaimed water program into the Department of Ecology.

* Moving the State Conservation Commission into the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in the Department of Natural Resources

Impacts to natural resources agencies from supplemental budget

December 13th, 2010  |  Published in Budget, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership

Over the weekend, the state legislature passed a supplemental budget that in part cuts the expected state revenue shortfall. All major natural resources agencies saw impacts, the largest of which was to the Department of Ecology.

The summary of the cuts can be found at the Legislative Evaluation and Accountably website.

Here are the totals for the various agencies (found on page 8 of the above document):

  • Department of Ecology: $5.89 million cut for a new total budget (2009-11 biennium) of $440 million.
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife: $3.7 million cut, new total budget $323 million
  • Department of Natural Resources:  $4.1 million cut, new total budget $371 million

The document also includes details of what programs were cut in the various departments, starting on page 26.

Here are the detailed cuts for the Department of Ecology:

WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Water Resources Program. This will result in less work accomplished in the following activities: water rights adjudication, instream flow setting, dam safety, water rights processing, water law compliance, data and information, water use efficiency, and local watershed management technical assistance.

SHORELANDS PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program. This will result in fewer staff available to perform wetlands and watershed planning work. This item includes a $500,000 reduction to new and existing watershed planning grants to local communities.

AIR QUALITY PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Air Quality Program. This reduction will result in fewer staff available to work on reducing vehicle emissions, industrial permits, air quality analysis and improvement planning, and grant management.

WATER QUALITY PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Water Quality Program. These reductions will delay work on water quality cleanup plans and reduce capacity to manage water quality grants and loans.

ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Administration and Support Program. This reduction will result in less capacity for federal grant reporting, cost recovery, accounts receivable, and updates to the Department’s information technology system responsible for managing grants, contracts, and loans. In addition, less staff time will be devoted to climate change preparation and adaptation work.

MONITORING PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Environmental Assessment Program. This will result in fewer staff devoted to measuring streamflows and monitoring the effectiveness of water cleanup plans.

UTILIZE DEDICATED ACCOUNTS – By shifting costs for a number of programs to other dedicated accounts with positive variances, and by reducing General Fund-State spending in other programs, General Fund-State expenditure authority is reduced. This reduction will impact the following programs: Administration, Air Quality, Hazardous Waste, Shorelands, Spills, Waste 2 Resources, and Water Quality.

WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Water Resources Program.This will result in less work accomplished in the following activities: water rights adjudication, instream flow setting, dam safety,water rights processing, water law compliance, data and information, water use efficiency, and local watershed management technical assistance.

SHORELANDS PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Shorelands and EnvironmentalAssistance Program. This will result in fewer staff available to perform wetlands and watershed planning work. This itemincludes a $500,000 reduction to new and existing watershed planning grants to local communities.

AIR QUALITY PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Air Quality Program. This reductionwill result in fewer staff available to work on reducing vehicle emissions, industrial permits, air quality analysis and improvementplanning, and grant management.

WATER QUALITY PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Water Quality Program. Thesereductions will delay work on water quality cleanup plans and reduce capacity to manage water quality grants and loans.

ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Administration and SupportProgram. This reduction will result in less capacity for federal grant reporting, cost recovery, accounts receivable, and updates tothe Department’s information technology system responsible for managing grants, contracts, and loans. In addition, less staff timewill be devoted to climate change preparation and adaptation work.

MONITORING PROGRAM REDUCTION – Funding and FTE staff are reduced in the Environmental Assessment Program.This will result in fewer staff devoted to measuring streamflows and monitoring the effectiveness of water cleanup plans.

UTILIZE DEDICATED ACCOUNTS – By shifting costs for a number of programs to other dedicated accounts with positivevariances, and by reducing General Fund-State spending in other programs, General Fund-State expenditure authority is reduced.This reduction will impact the following programs: Administration, Air Quality, Hazardous Waste, Shorelands, Spills, Waste 2Resources, and Water Quality.

Department of Fish and Wildlife:

DEFER EQUIPMENT PURCHASES – Funding is reduced for the purchase of equipment and supplies for the remainder of the biennium.

ELIMINATE AQUATIC EDU ACTIVITIES – Funding is eliminated for two aquatic education programs: Angler Education and Salmon in the Classroom.

ADMINISTRATIVE REDUCTION – Savings are achieved through vacancy management in administration and enforcement, and an increased use of existing federal and private/local expenditure authority.

State agencies release 10 percent across the board cuts

October 25th, 2010  |  Published in Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Partnership, State Agencies

The state Office of Financial Management recently posted (via Washington Policy Blog) proposed cuts by state agencies in response to Gov. Gregoire’s call for across the board 10 percent cuts.

The proposal’s from state natural resources agencies are all linked to below.

The most thorough proposal is from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The proposal from that agency includes, for example, cutting “fisheries management capabilities”:

This cut will reduce the agency’s fish management capacity causing: 1) a delay in the completion of regional steelhead management plans of 1-2 years; 2) more conservative management of resident warmwater and trout species in lowland lakes in south Puget Sound that will result in lost fishing opportunity, loss of staff support for youth fishing and environmental education activities in south Puget Sound; 3) elimination of work to evaluate chinook and coho salmon release strategies from south Puget Sound hatcheries; and 4) a delay in our ability to respond to external inquiries and fish management concerns, reducing stakeholder satisfaction.

The WDFW plan also details cuts in hatchery production:

This request would close a short term salmon rearing site, reduce Chinook salmon production in South Puget Sound by 2.8M and improve the efficiency of remaining production. In addition, we would reduce Chinook production by 1M in mid Puget Sound to better align current production with conservation and recovery needs for the Lake Washington drainage. Lastly, we would eliminate off-station steelhead releases of 20,000 each, in Willipa Bay and the north Coast of Washington, to reduce negative affects of returning adult steelhead on natural production in those regions.

Reductions would influence the amount of hatchery salmon available for harvest. However, remaining production will allow continued fishing opportunity.

Department of Fish and Wildlife
Department of Ecology
Puget Sound Partnership
Department of Natural Resources
Parks and Recreation Commission
Environmental and Land Use Hearings
Conservation Commission