Potential WDFW Budget Cuts

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
If you want to change things, start with the agency execs, your legislators or the governor, probably in that order.

I'm glad you mentioned that because that is close to exactly what I do, minus the governor because he flat out doesn't know and really doesn't care about such a niche agency as WDFW. When I identify a problem at WDFW I bring my case to the WDFW Commission, the Director, and when appropriate, certain state legislators. Knowing as I do, that it's commonplace to have constituents complain, along with my complaint I always bring a logical, viable, and well thought out solution. Most of the time they ignore my excellent suggestions because well thought out solutions tend to fall outside the bounds of the status quo. And if you know government and know bureaucracy, then you know they are addicted like crack addicts to not changing. Change requires making a decision. A decision might upset an influential constituent, so a decision is the primary method by which a bureaucrat can find him or herself in trouble. The very best way to avoid trouble if you're in government, is to avoid making any decisions at nearly all costs.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
Small on-topic digression here back to one of my previous questions: Let's say these cuts go through, and the hatcheries are shut down indefinitely.

Is it safe to assume that fishing for anything other than SRC's and pinks is effectively over in the Snohomish system?

When and if the agency budgets rebound, is there any prospect for re-opening these hatchery programs, ever? When and if that were to happen, would it have to be a broodstock operation using the handful of wild fish that return? How could you manage that it a way that would segregate wild vs hatchery fish on the basis of run timing?

I suspect tribal interests may compel hatchery dollars to be spent. It's sad in the first place to need hatcheries. Wild fish are free save preserving habitat and just not killing them off. I'm shocked the wild fish thing has not been pushed from a fiscal responsibility platform.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Small on-topic digression here back to one of my previous questions: Let's say these cuts go through, and the hatcheries are shut down indefinitely.

Is it safe to assume that fishing for anything other than SRC's and pinks is effectively over in the Snohomish system?

When and if the agency budgets rebound, is there any prospect for re-opening these hatchery programs, ever? When and if that were to happen, would it have to be a broodstock operation using the handful of wild fish that return? How could you manage that it a way that would segregate wild vs hatchery fish on the basis of run timing?

The budget isn't going to rebound for one..

We were spending money we didn't have and were never going to get long before covid 19.
The only way to have a reliable budget is to end deficit spending. The years budget needs to be strictly determined by the amount that came in the year before.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
This is from a post I made on another forum earlier today that seems equally salient here:

Like I mentioned in Rivrguy's other thread, since cuts are likely necessary due to reduced state revenue due to the pandemic, this is an opportunity like no other to actually prioritize WDFW services based on the return from those services to the WA taxpayers and license buyers who actually keep the GD lights on and doors open at the Natural Resources Building and all regional and district offices of WDFW.

Hatcheries should be audited and prioritized based first on fish returned to recreational anglers. The reason is because recreational anglers comprise the largest group of taxpayers and license buyers who provide much needed revenue to WDFW. Fish returns to NT commercial and treaty fisheries should be second in line. And fish (salmon) contributions to Canadian and Alaska fisheries shouldn't even be part of the prioritization equation since those fisheries provide exactly zero revenue to WDFW.

Much as I'd rather fish for steelhead and salmon, it is the hatcheries that produce trout or other fish for lakes and other landlocked waters that should receive the highest priority. This is because those fisheries return fish directly to anglers who pay WA state taxes and buy licenses from WDFW. This is the classic "twofer" for WDFW, providing fish through Department services to people who fund the Department in two ways, both through state taxes and by purchasing fishing licenses. No other user group even begins to contribute as much revenue to WDFW at as little cost. It isn't even close.

Funding salmon hatcheries that primarily benefit Canadian fisheries was only a good deal for WA when ocean survival rates were high and enough salmon escaped the intercepting fisheries of AK and BC to still provide decent fishing to WA recreational anglers. It ain't no secret that that train has long since left the station and may never come back. Raising hatchery salmon for another state and another nation with little benefit to WA is not only a welfare measure, it is a fiscally stupid welfare measure. (Unless you're an AK or BC fisherman, of course)

Raising hatchery salmon for NT commercial and treaty fishing is a fiscally stupid welfare measure because these two groups comprise less than 2% of WA state's population, and combined they return so little revenue to WDFW as to be negligible. As for treaty fishing being a federally treaty protected right, I do not disagree. Since it is a federally protected treaty right, then let the federal government fund hatcheries for that purpose if the federal government considers that to be an important public interest. Unless and until there is federal adjudication requiring WA state to fund such hatchery production, it simply doesn't make economic sense to do so, except to the extent that treaty fishing incidentally provides sufficient NT recreational fishing to make it economically worth while.

I"m not saying there shouldn't be hatchery salmon raised with WA state money, only that such hatchery salmon rearing be prioritized based on returns to the greatest number of anglers who buy WA state recreational fishing licenses. Some hatcheries will be winners, and some are losers. Stop funding the losers. That's all.

Hatchery steelhead return rates are at all time lows. However, even at low return rates it may make more sense to raise hatchery steelhead than hatchery salmon if more hatchery steelhead are returned to WA licensed creel than salmon are.

WDFW must have some bean counters who can perform this audit. The Department simply doesn't want to, because decisions regarding what Department programs are funded and which aren't have never been made on the basis of fiscal responsibility or returning services to the people who actually provide the Department's funding. This is why we see WDFW consistently make choices to throw recreational fishing and recreational fishermen under the bus in favor of alternatives up to and inclduing fiscal lunacy.

WDFW should consider dropping out of NOF. I've heard from Department people that from December through April of every year, 70% of Fish Program effort is directed at NOF. An objective audit would ask, "what do we get from all that effort?" If, come mid-April, we taxpaying license buying anglers only get the fishing that the treaty tribes approve of anyway, then why are we spending all that state money participating in a process where Ron Warren is just going to throw recreational fishing under the bus anyway. Thanks Ron for letting the Stillaguamish Tribe decide when NT sport fishermen can go fly fish for sea run cutthroat on the Stillagaumish River each year in some delusional effort that it will contribute to conservation of Stillaguamish Chinook, when any fish biologist who understands the situation knows that it won't. And not to pick on Mr. Warren specifically, but since he is the occupant of the new managerial position that Director Susewind created not that long ago, why are we spending scarce WA state funds paying for a Departmental position whose occupant has been throwing recreational fishing under the bus for the last 5 years? There are logical places for WDFW to make budget cuts necessitated by the COVID pandemic, but I don't see much logic being employed in WDFW's proposal. And that, my friends, is probably not a coincidence.
 

gt

Active Member
when a 'good' hatchery return is 1% of the smolt release, i can't really point fingers at BC or AK. the way hatchery fish are raised does not equip them for real life. can that be changed?? sure thing. there have been several interesting 'experiments' with changing rearing practices with much better return rates as a result. that said, don't expect WDFW and their brain trust, which is sorely lacking, to change how they do things. best to make cuts we the taxpayers will see and feel instead of changing their methods. that would require leadership which is in short supply in that agency.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
This is from a post I made on another forum earlier today that seems equally salient here:

Like I mentioned in Rivrguy's other thread, since cuts are likely necessary due to reduced state revenue due to the pandemic, this is an opportunity like no other to actually prioritize WDFW services based on the return from those services to the WA taxpayers and license buyers who actually keep the GD lights on and doors open at the Natural Resources Building and all regional and district offices of WDFW.

Hatcheries should be audited and prioritized based first on fish returned to recreational anglers. The reason is because recreational anglers comprise the largest group of taxpayers and license buyers who provide much needed revenue to WDFW. Fish returns to NT commercial and treaty fisheries should be second in line. And fish (salmon) contributions to Canadian and Alaska fisheries shouldn't even be part of the prioritization equation since those fisheries provide exactly zero revenue to WDFW.

Much as I'd rather fish for steelhead and salmon, it is the hatcheries that produce trout or other fish for lakes and other landlocked waters that should receive the highest priority. This is because those fisheries return fish directly to anglers who pay WA state taxes and buy licenses from WDFW. This is the classic "twofer" for WDFW, providing fish through Department services to people who fund the Department in two ways, both through state taxes and by purchasing fishing licenses. No other user group even begins to contribute as much revenue to WDFW at as little cost. It isn't even close.

Funding salmon hatcheries that primarily benefit Canadian fisheries was only a good deal for WA when ocean survival rates were high and enough salmon escaped the intercepting fisheries of AK and BC to still provide decent fishing to WA recreational anglers. It ain't no secret that that train has long since left the station and may never come back. Raising hatchery salmon for another state and another nation with little benefit to WA is not only a welfare measure, it is a fiscally stupid welfare measure. (Unless you're an AK or BC fisherman, of course)

Raising hatchery salmon for NT commercial and treaty fishing is a fiscally stupid welfare measure because these two groups comprise less than 2% of WA state's population, and combined they return so little revenue to WDFW as to be negligible. As for treaty fishing being a federally treaty protected right, I do not disagree. Since it is a federally protected treaty right, then let the federal government fund hatcheries for that purpose if the federal government considers that to be an important public interest. Unless and until there is federal adjudication requiring WA state to fund such hatchery production, it simply doesn't make economic sense to do so, except to the extent that treaty fishing incidentally provides sufficient NT recreational fishing to make it economically worth while.

I"m not saying there shouldn't be hatchery salmon raised with WA state money, only that such hatchery salmon rearing be prioritized based on returns to the greatest number of anglers who buy WA state recreational fishing licenses. Some hatcheries will be winners, and some are losers. Stop funding the losers. That's all.

Hatchery steelhead return rates are at all time lows. However, even at low return rates it may make more sense to raise hatchery steelhead than hatchery salmon if more hatchery steelhead are returned to WA licensed creel than salmon are.

WDFW must have some bean counters who can perform this audit. The Department simply doesn't want to, because decisions regarding what Department programs are funded and which aren't have never been made on the basis of fiscal responsibility or returning services to the people who actually provide the Department's funding. This is why we see WDFW consistently make choices to throw recreational fishing and recreational fishermen under the bus in favor of alternatives up to and inclduing fiscal lunacy.

WDFW should consider dropping out of NOF. I've heard from Department people that from December through April of every year, 70% of Fish Program effort is directed at NOF. An objective audit would ask, "what do we get from all that effort?" If, come mid-April, we taxpaying license buying anglers only get the fishing that the treaty tribes approve of anyway, then why are we spending all that state money participating in a process where Ron Warren is just going to throw recreational fishing under the bus anyway. Thanks Ron for letting the Stillaguamish Tribe decide when NT sport fishermen can go fly fish for sea run cutthroat on the Stillagaumish River each year in some delusional effort that it will contribute to conservation of Stillaguamish Chinook, when any fish biologist who understands the situation knows that it won't. And not to pick on Mr. Warren specifically, but since he is the occupant of the new managerial position that Director Susewind created not that long ago, why are we spending scarce WA state funds paying for a Departmental position whose occupant has been throwing recreational fishing under the bus for the last 5 years? There are logical places for WDFW to make budget cuts necessitated by the COVID pandemic, but I don't see much logic being employed in WDFW's proposal. And that, my friends, is probably not a coincidence.


I agree with this line of thinking.

I think hatcheries that we do keep should be geared to sport harvest fisheries. Most people who buy licenses want to take home. food..

I'll speak towards Columbia River hatcheries.

1. Discontinue all tule Chinook ( they are poor sport fish and poor food fish)
2. Discontinue spring Chinook (we cannot raise and return them in a cost effective manner and that really sucks.
3. Summer and winter steelhead are ok
4. Discontinue chum programs. Let them do what they can do through natural production and let them be.
5. Late run coho are also both great sport and food fish

I'm for put and take trout plants as they are a big draw and one of the best ways to introduce young people and beginners to the sport.

There are pros and cons to all of this so I guess that these are mostly just my preferences I suppose
 

longputt

Active Member
I agree with this line of thinking.

I think hatcheries that we do keep should be geared to sport harvest fisheries. Most people who buy licenses want to take home. food..

I'll speak towards Columbia River hatcheries.

1. Discontinue all tule Chinook ( they are poor sport fish and poor food fish)
2. Discontinue spring Chinook (we cannot raise and return them in a cost effective manner and that really sucks.
3. Summer and winter steelhead are ok
4. Discontinue chum programs. Let them do what they can do through natural production and let them be.
5. Late run coho are also both great sport and food fish

I'm for put and take trout plants as they are a big draw and one of the best ways to introduce young people and beginners to the sport.

There are pros and cons to all of this so I guess that these are mostly just my preferences I suppose

One issue is that the SSKW people believe that springers are what they need. Talk about an impossible recovery. Spring Chinook in the Columbia (and the tributary Snake) are just put and take, any realistic springer recovery in the Columbia removes Grand Coulee and/or Hell's Canyon...good luck bankrupting S Idaho and browning out King County!

If steelhead becomes put and take, because they suffer many of the same issues as springers, why not use a sporting fish like Skamanias?

Several years if you totaled all of the Columbia River mitigation costs and divided it by the number of returning adults...each returning adult chinook cost $750...every we time we boat a springer we declare it a tax rebate. I can't imagine what they cost today.

I just there are too many utterly ridiculous expectations if we set reasonable goals we could enhance a few fisheries. Right now the goals are fairly land and need a giant piggy-bank in the sky to pay for it.
 

Paul_

Active Member
this is an opportunity like no other to actually prioritize WDFW services based on the return from those services to the WA taxpayers and license buyers who actually keep the GD lights on and doors open at the Natural Resources Building and all regional and district offices of WDFW.

WDFW should consider dropping out of NOF. I've heard from Department people that from December through April of every year, 70% of Fish Program effort is directed at NOF.

It will be interesting to see if a “reset” back to WDFW focusing more on the hook and bullet crowd takes place?

Also 70% of fish program effort spent on NOF for 4 months doesn’t seem right. Maybe you meant out of the NRB, then your probably right.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
One issue is that the SSKW people believe that springers are what they need. Talk about an impossible recovery. Spring Chinook in the Columbia (and the tributary Snake) are just put and take, any realistic springer recovery in the Columbia removes Grand Coulee and/or Hell's Canyon...good luck bankrupting S Idaho and browning out King County!

If steelhead becomes put and take, because they suffer many of the same issues as springers, why not use a sporting fish like Skamanias?

Several years if you totaled all of the Columbia River mitigation costs and divided it by the number of returning adults...each returning adult chinook cost $750...every we time we boat a springer we declare it a tax rebate. I can't imagine what they cost today.

I just there are too many utterly ridiculous expectations if we set reasonable goals we could enhance a few fisheries. Right now the goals are fairly land and need a giant piggy-bank in the sky to pay for it.

1. Steelhead are already put and take...
2. Orcas can suck it, we cannot produce enough spring chinook to feed them end if story, we suck that bad at making them. Feeding whales shouldn't factor into fish production at all.
3. Skamsnias are sucky game fish. They rush to the Skamanias. Then sulk in the nearest deep pool,and are rarely available to anglers. Chambers creek winters are better than Skamanias but that's just my opinion having fished for them my whole life.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
It will be interesting to see if a “reset” back to WDFW focusing more on the hook and bullet crowd takes place?
I saw an add that lead to a survey for a 25 year plan for WDFW. Besides how ridiculous a 25 year plan even is for the WDFW of all the choices you could choose from I saw ZERO that had to do with focusing on the hook and bullet crowd. So sadly I wouldn't count on that...It's clear they don't on the upper level give a crap about us.
 

Big Tuna

Member
The new generation at WDFW are not nearly as into hunting and fishing as past generations. Management of back yard animals like song birds, squirrels, raccoon, and mountain beaver is rising in importance.
I wish they'd come manage the growing squirrel population in my backyard. I think there's a squirrel recovery program in Wenatchee.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
Wdfw from what I'm seeing is chasing agendas and going your Facebook likes. They are manhandled by the tribes, governor, and green wolf recovery groups. Oh wait I forgot the commercial fishing fleet. Bottom line is from what I see they don't work for sportsmen and really don't care to. I'm closer to the wdfw and at one time almost all employees fished and or hunted. Now I would venture that number is about a quarter fish and hunt. Evergreen degrees play well in Olympia and with the state as far as employment and that is who runs the show. I could stomach all of this if they got some conservation done. You are witnessing the end of an era and the utter failure of a state agency. These budget cuts are just another nail in the coffin.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
It will be interesting to see if a “reset” back to WDFW focusing more on the hook and bullet crowd takes place?

Also 70% of fish program effort spent on NOF for 4 months doesn’t seem right. Maybe you meant out of the NRB, then your probably right.

I don't expect a reset to focusing on the hook & bullet constituency. Director Susewind sees that part of the writing on the wall that hunting and fishing are declining. So he wants to recreate WDFW (IMO) in the image of Dept. of Ecology and protect fish & wildlife habitat and sort of have statewide "petting" and viewing zoos in the absence of actually hunting and fishing for critters.

The 70% is for the management group in the fish program and excludes the hatcheries - the big money line item - which are also part of the fish program. Dec. - Apr. inclusive = 5 months. What do we really get for it?
 

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