Grow their budget? Less than 1 percent of Washington's state budget goes to WDFW, DNR and other state natural resource management agencies.
WDFW alone gets roughly .5 percent of the state budget, despite employing 1,500+ people and providing an approx. $3 return in tax receipts for every dollar the state gives them. (2017-19 numbers for reference: WDFW Operating Budget of $427.6 million out of a state Operating Budget of $89 billion).
If conservation is just lip service for votes and money, and the state is "selling out" our fisheries, they're sure getting shit returns.
I agree that most voters and lawmakers in Olympia have next to zero interest in conservation. That's at the heart of the problem.
But as anglers (and other fish and wildlife stakeholders), we should be better than that, including calling on decision-makers to make the right calls on stuff like this fish farm bait and switch. And urging lawmakers in Olympia to give our state natural resource agencies adequate resources to do a better job at managing our natural heritage.
You are misunderstanding my comment. I was speaking to allowing this project and collecting money from them for permits, taxes, ect. I believe that wdfw is underfunded at best. I would gladly have more officers, more biologists, and more activities and monies flowing to conservation. I think the state is looking at this shortsighted in that they will garner revenue from Cooke. Yet at what cost to our resource?
Given the wdfw and DNR are such a small portion of the budget only speaks to the priorities in Olympia. These are the agencies charged with managing our most precious resources that in many cases are irreplaceable. The general fund grows while the resource shrinks. If priorities were genuinely different I think you would see the wdfw,DNR and other agencies getting a larger share of the state coffers. We agree on this. My apologies if my original post was unclear.
I will stand by my statement though in that allowing this project is no less than selling out our fisheries. And yes it's a shit return as well. A little revenue into the general fund black hole while endangering our already stressed stocks of salmon and steelhead. The gain isn't worth the risk. Lawmakers should have enough common sense to see this. Sadly many don't or don't care.
I'll stand by my other statement in that conservation is just lip service for many in Olympia. It simply is. If they were serious they would treat the problem seriously and not get all excited in the eleventh hour when orcas hit the news. We need to make serious changes in the face of a serious problem. We cannot save fisheries and continue business as usual.