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Author Topic: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding  (Read 980 times)

Offline woodswalker

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By The Herald Editorial Board:

Fewer hunting and fishing licenses are being sold, which means a loss of revenue to manage resources.

Fewer of us participate in hunting and fishing than in decades past; thatís a trend seen at the state and national level, even as more of us take to the outdoors for hiking, birdwatching and wildlife viewing armed only with cameras or binoculars.

But while fish, fowl and the antlered crowd might individually breathe a sigh of relief, the resulting drop in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses means a loss of support for wildlife and habitat conservation work throughout the United States, and in Washington state in particular.

Only about 3 percent of the stateís population now hunts. Nearly 124,000 licenses for deer were sold to hunters in Washington state in 2013, with 33,657 deer harvested. By 2018, the number of deer hunters had dropped 12.5 percent to less than 109,000 licenses with 27,896 deer taken. At $45 for a deer license and $85 for a combined deer and elk license, the decline in hunters has meant a significant loss of revenue for the state and more specifically for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Similarly, thereís been a decline in the number of those purchasing fishing and related licenses. In 2007, there were more than 845,000 anglers in the state, about 16 percent of the stateís residents. By 2017, the number of those fishing dropped to 759,000, about 12 percent of the population, according to WDFW figures cited in a 2018 Yakima Herald story.

The fish and wildlife agency took another hit earlier this summer when a special fishing license endorsement expired to fish for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River, a $9 fee on top of the fishing license. That fee brought in about $3.3 million every two years to the agency.

Yet that drop in revenue from licenses and fees is only one reason why the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has made a special request of Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Legislature as they prepare supplemental budgets for consideration during the upcoming session that begins in January.

The agency is requesting a total of $26 million, reports the The Spokesman-Review, and would have to make heavy program and staffing cuts ó as many as 100 employees ó unless at least some of that request is honored. The loss of revenue from licenses and fees hasnít kept pace with costs for managing those programs, but a one-time funding fix adopted by lawmakers in 2017 has expired and the department has been underfunded over the last decade following budget cuts made during the Great Recession.

Past attempts to increase fees and licenses have failed, so the agency is not planning to make that request of the Legislature this year, meaning revenue would have to come from the stateís general fund.

State lawmakers did approve $10 million in funding for the agency in 2017, with the requirement that the department undergo a performance audit and develop a long-term financing plan. The audit, according to the WDFW website, confirmed the budget shortfall and the growing gap between revenues and expenditures, and also new mandates that added to the agencyís costs without the necessary funding.

The principle of user fees makes perfect sense as a source of revenue for a range of programs; those most directly using a resource or program pay more to help support it. But itís easier to tap a hunter or angler for a fee than it is for someone taking a pair of binoculars into the woods. Which means that as the numbers of those who hunt and fish wane, state residents as a whole will need to shoulder a larger share of the costs of managing state lands and waters to enhance and protect habitat and wildlife, which means increased allocations from the stateís general fund.

That work of habitat and wildlife conservation will become even more critical as the effects of climate change become more pronounced in the state and the Pacific Northwest.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is tasked with preserving and protecting the stateís wildlife, fish and their habitats to sustain resources for recreational and commercial uses.

Lawmakers will have only a short 60-day session to address continuing issues with K-12 education funding, and now ó following the passage of Initiative 976 ó added pressure to address transportation funding shortfalls. But those priorities canít come at the cost of ignoring the needs of the stateís public lands and wildlife resources.
A Smith & Wesson Beats Four Aces.

Whatta ya mean I can't have one of each?

What we have here is...Washington Department of NO Fish and WATCHABLE Wildlife.
 
WDFW is going farther and farther backwards....we need FISH AND GAME back!

Offline wags

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Does this really surprise anyone?

I heard with my own ears Curt Smitch the WDFW directer over 20 years ago say; "contrary to popular belief, the purpose of the Department is to manage people, not wildlife".

Does it surprise you that the Department has gone so far downhill?
 

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Paying $1.6M to a consultant to ďrunĒ wolf meetings is a big reason I donít hunt here, anymore.

Offline huntnphool

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Paying $1.6M to a consultant to ďrunĒ wolf meetings is a big reason I donít hunt here, anymore.

 What happened to all the projected millions in revenue that would be raised by wolf viewing? :chuckle:
The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first!

Offline huntnnw

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where are the millions this state has gotten from the legalization of pot? Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...

Offline wannabhntr

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where are the millions this state has gotten from the legalization of pot? Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...
Don't forget the 25% alcohol tax. I don't believe that it is a lack of interest in hunting. People are just hunting out of state because Washington is making it more and more difficult for hunters to be successful.
"PETA" People Eating Tasty Animals

Offline ipkus

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where are the millions this state has gotten from the legalization of pot? Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...

Iím not sure where you got that info, but WDFW does not generate more than itís budget in fees, not even close.  Now with that said, they are a top heavy, bloated typical government organization that has lots of fat they could trim but refuse to acknowledge it.  They continually make management decisions that pander to resource extraction industries and enviro crazies that donít contribute toward their budget, leaving fish and game populations in horrible shape and yet they canít figure out why they are losing hunters and fishers and the remaining ones donít want to pay higher fees.

It would be funny if it wasnít so tragic.

Offline Special T

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Something like half of its 1300 employees are in Olympia... I may be a little off in my % and total but I should be close.

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In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

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Offline bigtex

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Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...
Not true. All license, tag, permit, etc fees go straight into the wildlife fund and not any other fund. It's been that way for about 10 years. In fact WDFW has to rely more and more on taxpayer funds to run the agency and less on hunting/angling fees.

Very few agencies bring in more money then they receive in funding.

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Offline bigtex

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Something like half of its 1300 employees are in Olympia... I may be a little off in my % and total but I should be close.

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Not true. I'd be shocked if even 25% are in Olympia. Obviously some divisions have a bigger footprint in Olympia then others simply because of their job. Licensing, budget, etc are the typical divisions that have a large footprint in Olympia. But most other divisions are based out of the regiona.

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Offline Buckhunter24

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Re: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2019, 10:03:04 AM »
How many officers are there out of the 1300?

Offline Fishmaker57

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Re: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2019, 10:17:46 AM »


Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...
Not true. All license, tag, permit, etc fees go straight into the wildlife fund and not any other fund. It's been that way for about 10 years. In fact WDFW has to rely more and more on taxpayer funds to run the agency and less on hunting/angling fees.

Very few agencies bring in more money then they receive in funding.

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The difference is not what they bring in from direct fees, it is what they generate. WDFW, through revenue generated to the state, actually makes far more than required to operate the agency. New trucks, boats, guns, fishing tackle, guides, hotels, restaurants....the list goes on and on. We all spend money on these things, to do what we love to do. The issue is that the revenue goes into the general fund, and WDFW never gets credit for generating it. WDFW gets less than 1% of the general fund, while agencies that do not generate any revenue get a much larger piece of the pie. I'm not saying the agency operates efficiently....far from it, but dollar for dollar they generate far more state revenue than they spend.

As for staff, what should be investigated is how top heavy they are, and how many new WMS positions have been created since merger. If they would have created half as many enforcement positions as management positions, they might actually reach the number of wardens they had at merger.

 :twocents:

Offline bigtex

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Re: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2019, 10:20:31 AM »
How many officers are there out of the 1300?
About 140ish total have a badge (newest recruit to the actual Chief). Actual field officers (non-supervisor) is around 95-100.

Offline bigtex

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Re: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2019, 10:25:13 AM »
where are the millions this state has gotten from the legalization of pot? Even with the fewer licenses sold there is more than enough to fund WDFW, yet the state takes most of it. BS! I read that WDFW had generated $170 million and was receiving only $70 million of it. What a crock of s...
Don't forget the 25% alcohol tax.
The thing with the alcohol and marijuana taxes is a lot of those are already allocated towards existing programs (law enforcement, education, rehab, sent to cities/counties, etc.) they aren't just all sent into the general fund so everyone can use it.

The other issues is the McCleary Decision which said WA has not fully funded public education in the state. So that meant more general fund money had to be spent on public education and less on other agencies/programs. We are about to see the same thing with the car tab initiative. Be prepared for the legislature to suck more money out of the general fund to backfill the revenue lost due to the car tab initiative.

Offline Special T

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Re: Op-Ed in Everett Herald - State fish, wildlife agency in a hunt for funding
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2019, 10:43:00 AM »
Here are the actual numbers I was off because i had 650  and 1300 stuck in my head page 33

https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-02/matrix_wdfw_final_report_1-11-18.pdf

In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

 


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