Skagit Wild Steelhead CnR Fishery........Eliminated 2020

Chris DeLeone

Active Member
Looks like our Skagit CnR fishery is on the chopping blocks

From: "Susewind, Kelly (DFW)" <[email protected]>
Date: May 30, 2019 at 10:11:04 AM PDT
Subject: 2019 - 21 Operating Budget Update
WDFW Colleagues:
I am writing with an update on our operating budget situation for 2019- 21. As you read in
earlier updates, we received significant new funding to recover Southern Resident Killer Whales.
However, we did not receive enough funding to resolve our perennial structural deficit, which
continued to grow in the final adopted 2019- 21 budget.
We have briefed the Fish and Wildlife Commission and have their support for our approach to
balance the budget.In the first fiscal year 1 (FY1), we plan to make some reductions and
implement an assertive vacancy rate.In FY2, we will seek a significant supplemental request to
make us whole, as well as request that the Legislature makes the one- time funding an on- going
appropriation.See attached table.
Essentially, we are attempting to stay reasonably whole in the first fiscal year while we pursue
supplemental funding in 2020.Based on how the one- time operating budget was appropriated
and follow up conversations with legislators and budget staff, there is recognition that they did
not resolve our budget issues in 2019 and that our budget would be re- visited next January.
Here are some of the details around the actions we are pursuing:
• We will fund all of the ~$31M of requests that were called “maintain/buybacks” in the
first fiscal year using the one- time state general fund appropriation, except two items:
o We are eliminating the 24- hour call center contract in Licensing for the foreseeable
o We are also reducing $880K in FY1 funds for Columbia River Salmon and
Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE) activities.For those activities, we will be able
to prioritize Columbia River mainstem fisheries above McNary Dam and the
Yakima spring Chinook fishery.We will also be able to fund conservation
hatc hery broodstock programs for spring Chinook and steelhead in the Upper
Columbia River.All other tributary fisheries previously funded by CRSSE are
scheduled to be eliminated, as well as a number of other projects, due to
insufficient funds.Many of these fisheries were already scheduled to be closed
due to pre- season low abundance estimates.
• We will implement a 4% vacancy rate in FY1, which results in anticipated $1.4M in
savings ( note: this may be an additional rate on top of existing vacancy rates already in
place for certain programs). This is not a ‘hiring freeze.’Appointing authorities will
have discretion regarding how they achieve this proportional savings, but it may be that
some positions remain unfilled for longer periods.
• We will continue to fund a portion of the Fish Washington mobile app in FY1.This will
maintain our new Fish WA app in its current technological state; without additional
enhancements or developing a new Hunt WA app.
• The Mitchell Act BiOp and Mitchell Act Production portions of the Enhance Fishing
decision package will be funded using the new ongoing funding within the Increase
Salmon Population dollars for both fiscal years, as they are both necessary to achieving
increased salmon production.
None of the other proposed enhancements are funded.For example, the current Skagit
catch and release fishery will not receive funding and thus that opportunity will be

eliminated. Puget Sound salmon monitoring is reduced and, depending on outcomes of
discussions with co- managers and NOAA fisheries, could result in reductions to planned
Shifting to FY2 of the 2019- 21 biennium, the proposed solution relies on a large supplemental
budget request during the 2020 legislative session.Without legislative investment next winter,
we will need to make significant cuts in FY2, using the same decision packages identified for the
2019 legislative session.
While this continues uncertainty as to our fate in FY2, when we look at how the biennial
operating budget was appropriated, we see an invitation by the legislature to further the dialogue
about our complex budget and pursue a long- term solution that doesn’t have us reducing
serv ices.
In June the budget office will partner with programs to develop spending plans for the next
biennium.At the June Commission meeting, we will discuss whether our supplemental request
in 2020 should rely on general fund or if we should seek a combination of general fund and
resurrect the recreational fee bill (possibly with a Columbia River salmon and steelhead
We’ll keep you posted along the way.I recognize this continues uncertainty for a number of
staff, but Iwould rather keep our team as whole as possible providing services through this first
year of the biennium and request a resolution in FY2, versus cutting now and not pursuing a fix
in the supplemental.
Thank you for the work you do, and your continued support as we pursue a long term solution.


Active Member
This is a bunch of BS. The Skagit is just called out as an example. What other fisheries will we lose because they can't afford monitoring? If they can't pay creel checkers on the Hoh, will we lose the whole OP?


Active Member
very sad.. though I wonder if they are intentionally going to roust up some grass roots anger..

Here's a suggestion that kills two birds with one stone.. Use the standard law enforcement model of writing more tickets to help the budget. Just triple or quadruple enforcement fines for fish and wildlife violations and better incentivize game wardens to catch poachers, snaggers, netters and everyone else breaking the rules to bring in more revenue. hopefully its more of a short to medium term action that slowly selects against the choice to break the rules.

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