OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) legislative and budget requests for the 2023 legislative session, and several land transactions across the state at a virtual meeting on Friday.
The Commission authorized WDFW to move forward with the acquisition of several properties to enhance conservation efforts and improve public recreation access, including a 60-acre property in the Quincy Lake Wildlife Area in Grant County, two properties totaling about 221 acres on the Methow Wildlife Area in Okanogan County, and a 1,070 acre property and 17-acre conservation easement in the Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County.
More information on these properties can be found in the summary sheet.
Commissioners then approved legislative priorities for the Washington State Legislature’s 2023 session, including measures to improve hatchery maintenance processes, require fishing licenses for certain species that don’t currently require licenses, promote early detection of certain wildlife diseases, and enhance shoreline restoration to benefit species and ecosystem health.
The Commission also approved WDFW’s proposed operating and capital budget requests for the 2023-25 biennium. Among other items, these requests include:
$47 million to restore Washington’s biodiversity, protect habitat, recover species of greatest conservation need, and increase WDFW’s conservation education capacity;
$9.9 million to expand wildlife conflict response;
$102.1 million to improve hatchery safety, operations, and maintenance statewide;
$7.3 million on climate-related packages;
$1.9 million to equip WDFW Enforcement officers with body cameras; and
$41 million to restore habitat in the Duckabush estuary.
More information on WDFW’s 2023-35 budget requests can be found online.
The Commission decided not to pursue rule making in response to a petition that proposed aligning Washington’s roadkill salvage law more closely with that of Idaho, but commissioners expressed an interest in further discussing the legality of members of the public euthanizing animals injured by vehicles.
Finally, the Commission was presented with the final draft of the Department’s 10-year Recreation Strategy for WDFW-Managed Lands. The strategy represents the culmination of significant research and consultation with tribal co-managers, partner organizations and the public, and provides short-term and long-term guidance for investing in the evolution of WDFW's outdoor recreation management. The full report is available online.
To view a recording of the meeting and other meeting materials, as well as information about upcoming Commission meetings, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the WDFW. WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.