Potential WDFW Budget Cuts

BriGuy

Active Member
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.

Here's the link to that survey and an archive of their two-year strategic business plans:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/administration/strategic-planning

The plan for the next biennium is due in the next month or two. Keep an eye out for it.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
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.

All hatchery fish are put & take. It's just that so many hatchery salmon are taken in Canada. So why spend our WA state tax dollars raising them?

Orcas are just another species that drew the evolutionary short stick. There's not much we can do for them that will actually increase the SRKW population by even one (1) whale. Raising more hatchery fall Chinook that don't significantly overlap in time and space with the SRKWs and better than the existing PS hatchery fall Chinook is primarily a benefit to Canadian fisheries and terminal area treaty tribal fisheries. Very little benefit will accrue to WA taxpayers, license buyers, or orcas.

Skamania summer steelhead are good game fish. If they sulk in deep pools that's because that's the only suitable habitat for them at certain times of the summer. Stock them in rivers that have other types of holding water as well, and they are very catchable on flies. Chambers Ck steelhead are not better in any way, shape, or form. Hell, they can't even perpetuate themselves and are going extinct thanks the combination of management strategy and environmental pressures.
 

Jakob B

Washington Native and college age angler
Every time something like this comes up it reminds me of something I learned in my Pols 202 class freshman year. Tocqueville wrote about the tyranny of the majority and factions within the majority and if you'll let me spin I think I have a sensible explanation for the problem with the WDFW.

How do you keep the majority from being tyrannical? Create factions within them, then they fight each other instead of you. Fishermen (and women) are the majority, there's a lot more of us than the few directors at WDFW and legislators. It's not even that they have created the factions within us but we have within ourselves. Pro hatchery only guys, release as many molt as possible without any regards for habitat or the science behind how that won't work. Hatchery-wild coexist guys, the belief we can have our cake and eat it too. Pro wild guys, the hopeless romantics who despise inbred bucket born fish. The Patagucci crowd. The Filson crowd. The gear only crowd. The swing only crowd. The tribes are only to blame for all our fish decline crowd. Its only ocean conditions that's causing it crowd. The uninformed crowd of anglers that regurgitate whatever they hear from any one of these groups of people. Etc, the list goes on.

We have a group of anglers in Washington State that far outnumbers the director and legislators. However our group of anglers is so split with any angler sharing some combined beliefs above or just one of those groups. It makes for unproductive progress and conversation and ultimately no change. Will pro wild be able to convince pro hatchery they're wrong. Nope. Swing only hippy crowd that the bait checkers that hate the Tribes that they're wrong, or vice versa. Nope. The problem with democracy is there never will be a one size fits all candidate or proposal. To over come this people must band together and put aside their differences. The Federalists and the Anti-federalists did so and created the United States and abolished the monarchy of England within the Colonies. Maybe I am stretching a little bit but common ground, based on science must be found to inform decisions and change and it must happen soon.

Jakob
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
Every time something like this comes up it reminds me of something I learned in my Pols 202 class freshman year. Tocqueville wrote about the tyranny of the majority and factions within the majority and if you'll let me spin I think I have a sensible explanation for the problem with the WDFW.

How do you keep the majority from being tyrannical? Create factions within them, then they fight each other instead of you. Fishermen (and women) are the majority, there's a lot more of us than the few directors at WDFW and legislators. It's not even that they have created the factions within us but we have within ourselves. Pro hatchery only guys, release as many molt as possible without any regards for habitat or the science behind how that won't work. Hatchery-wild coexist guys, the belief we can have our cake and eat it too. Pro wild guys, the hopeless romantics who despise inbred bucket born fish. The Patagucci crowd. The Filson crowd. The gear only crowd. The swing only crowd. The tribes are only to blame for all our fish decline crowd. Its only ocean conditions that's causing it crowd. The uninformed crowd of anglers that regurgitate whatever they hear from any one of these groups of people. Etc, the list goes on.

We have a group of anglers in Washington State that far outnumbers the director and legislators. However our group of anglers is so split with any angler sharing some combined beliefs above or just one of those groups. It makes for unproductive progress and conversation and ultimately no change. Will pro wild be able to convince pro hatchery they're wrong. Nope. Swing only hippy crowd that the bait checkers that hate the Tribes that they're wrong, or vice versa. Nope. The problem with democracy is there never will be a one size fits all candidate or proposal. To over come this people must band together and put aside their differences. The Federalists and the Anti-federalists did so and created the United States and abolished the monarchy of England within the Colonies. Maybe I am stretching a little bit but common ground, based on science must be found to inform decisions and change and it must happen soon.


Jakob

While I agree with much of this i don't see any constituents forcing wdfw to do anything. They are bought and paid for even if there's no money changing hands by special interest groups. Washington State is the pinnacle of big government and getting change outside the agenda, and sportsmen are well outside the agenda, is impossible. This is not a new problem and yet it's grown. It will continue to grow unless radical restructuring is done.
 

JACKspASS

Active Member
Just like politics, religion, and fisheries.....we will divide into our own little feel good groups, while the ship continues to sink into oblivion.

At some point the majority will lose the will to fight and care just enough about the resource to buy into the closed waters/santuary bullshit and that will be that
 

longputt

Active Member
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.

Where I fish Skamanias are tarpon compared to the current hatchery fish! I've had them routinely take flies on the surface in 8 to 10' of water...of course at the right time of the year.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
if you'll let me spin I think I have a sensible explanation for the problem with the WDFW.

I think you're overlooking some causative factors. Tyranny may play a part, but I think it is minor. A key consideration has to be the agency's enabling legislation. That legislation gives conflicting signals to protect and perpetuate fish and wildlife resources, but with respect to fish, there are legislative mandates to provide for recreational and commercial fishing, as equal to the protect and perpetuate clause. Then there is agency culture. In 1935 two separate state agencies were formed: WDG and WDF. WDG managed wildlife and gamefish. WDF managed food fish, specifically commercially caught species.

The enabling legislation leads to the next factor, agency culture. WDF existed to manage and provide for commercial fishing. Any recreational fishing for salmon and other marine fish species (except shellfish) was strictly an afterthought. This is why, except for the Columbia River, when salmon management allocations are developed, no number was entered for freshwater salmon fishing. The prevalent belief was that salmon don't bite well in fresh water, and the resulting freshwater sport catch was inconsequentially small. No specific allocation of salmon in freshwater was necessary. That continues to this day. Fisheries evolved of course, and after WWII and good outboard motors came on the scene, sportfishing for salmon in the ocean and especially PS exploded.

Another important factor in agency culture is status quo. I wrote above that change requires making decisions, often difficult ones. Making decisions can make or break a bureaucrat's career, so the natural incentive is to avoid making any difficult, controversial decisions. Bureaucrats hate it; it causes severe emotional distress.

Status quo developed around a culture of commercial salmon fishing before anyone actually knew what salmon were being caught where in marine waters. Salmon hatcheries evolved in that culture, where modest taxpayer investments in hatcheries would lead to increased harvests of salmon, and that made sense when large numbers of those salmon returned to be harvested in WA state, and WA had a thriving commercial fishing industry. Maybe WDFW hasn't noticed, but that train has long since left the station. And it ain't coming back. Yet the culture remains. It would be painful to acknowledge that a major reason for part of WDFW's existence no longer exists. This, I think, is why the Department struggles ever to hard to maintain and preserve even token commercial salmon fisheries. An excellent example is Grays Harbor, where WDFW spends more money per year to manage commercial salmon fishing than the value of those salmon landed at the docks. Any bean counter would say it's not economically justified to continue managing for such a fishery. Especially now that there aren't any remaining harvestable wild salmon to manage for commercial harvest. The fishery is almost wholly dependent on hatchery salmon. But the couple dozen gillnetters in the harbor have a strong ally in the Department, cuz hey, there are jobs managing that unprofitable fishery as long as WA taxpayers will fund it.

So we have legislative mandate (that is functionally obsolete, but they won't admit it even if it comes down to a dozen biologists managing a commercial harvest of 4 salmon - they're still jobs, dammit!), evolved agency culture, and status quo (this is how we've "always" done it (with always meaning the amount of time that best supports the contention).
 

longputt

Active Member
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.

I think he needs it to be called the Dept of Conservation it's one of those terms that gives him higher moral ground. Who wouldn't support conservation....if you don't it makes you an admitted polluter and waster?

I just just try to be realistic we are going to count, observe, watch, vote, bicker and rationalize the ENTIRE resource out of existence. We could have affordable focused conservation projects AND put-and-take recreation but on the current path I think we end up with neither.
 

longputt

Active Member
Making decisions can make or break a bureaucrat's career, so the natural incentive is to avoid making any difficult, controversial decisions. Bureaucrats hate it; it causes severe emotional distress.

Declaring several runs irrecoverable needs to happen so that we do not end up diluting the funds and accomplishing nothing and as you point out that can be career suicide for a bureaucrat.
 

Jakob B

Washington Native and college age angler
Declaring several runs irrecoverable needs to happen so that we do not end up diluting the funds and accomplishing nothing and as you point out that can be career suicide for a bureaucrat.
True, because even those runs could slowly recover without those funds. Let’s not forget how resilient salmon and steelhead can be. WDFW should put their money where the anglers mouths say and let the rest of the rivers recover as they would in natural course. Of course other things need to be managed like seals and cormorants etc whatever the case is. Bottom line some places don’t need the managing. No sense in spreading the small amount of resources paper thin.

Jakob
 

longputt

Active Member
Of course other things need to be managed like seals and cormorants etc whatever the case is.

It's funny we've created artificial problems for elk and deer and we can SELL tags for deprivation hunts, but when we build a fish ladder that creates easy hunting for sea lions and tailraces that stun smolts for easy cormorant prey we can't touch them and SPEND millions trying to keep them away?
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Declaring several runs irrecoverable needs to happen so that we do not end up diluting the funds and accomplishing nothing and as you point out that can be career suicide for a bureaucrat.

In government, diluting funds almost doesn't exist. At the end of the fiscal year it's more important that allocated funds have been spent than it is to have actually accomplished something tangible. i.e., "attended 33 meetings" is as much of an accomplishment as "attended 33 meetings in order to design and select a contractor to build a fishway; start date is mo/dy/yr."

Accomplishing nothing can still achieve promotions, whereas doing something controversial or displeasing a senior policy person, that's career suicide or at least a hamstrung career.
 

Skip Enge

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
It's funny we've created artificial problems for elk and deer and we can SELL tags for deprivation hunts, but when we build a fish ladder that creates easy hunting for sea lions and tailraces that stun smolts for easy cormorant prey we can't touch them and SPEND millions trying to keep them away?
Simplistically it's like betting you can piss into the wind and not get any on you, however since we are so inventive and industrious and can fix anything the bets keep getting waged on failed rhetorical solutions, or so it seems.
 
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longputt

Active Member
Accomplishing nothing can still achieve promotions, whereas doing something controversial or displeasing a senior policy person, that's career suicide or at least a hamstrung career.

100% correct; this is a reason I made a major career change 25 years ago!

The claims we made in our proposals, IF SUCCESSFUL, were being touted as accomplishments before executing the work! Solyndra ring a bell with anyone?
 
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Robert Ourisy

New Member
Figured it was only a matter of time until the economic carnage brought brought on by Covid-19 hit the budgets of various agencies.

"As it stands, WDFW’s proposed reductions amount to:

$5.7 million for fisheries and management, reduced crab outreach and lost gear recovery, along with less lake rehabs, and at least five game wardens

$5.2 million for salmon and steelhead production that would see closure of Reiter Ponds, Tokul Creek, Forks Creek, Nemah, Whitehorse and Mayr Bros hatcheries, and reductions in fish produced for orcas;

$2.7 million for lands management, wildlife area planning, Westside pheasant program, and at least three officers;

$2.7 million for conservation efforts;

$2.4 million for warmwater gamefish management, along with closure of the Meseberg hatchery;

$2.0 million for trout production that would see the closure of Arlington, Chelan, Naches and Mossyrock hatcheries, impacting a $61 million annual fishery;

And $1.3 million for programs that partner with volunteers to benefit fish and wildlife.

WDFW documents say that a $2.8 million shortfall from Pittman-Robertson excise taxes on guns and ammo would lead to reduced big game work and only half as much elk feeding, while $800,000 in Dingell-Johnson shortfalls would lead to netpen closures on Mayfield Lake and of the Omak Hatchery.

Hatchery grant shortfalls of $2.6 million would impact Toutle, Skamania and Elwha hatcheries, along with fisheries on the Columbia and its tribs."

As it stands, WDFW’s proposed reductions amount to:

$5.7 million for fisheries and management, reduced crab outreach and lost gear recovery, along with less lake rehabs, and at least five game wardens

$5.2 million for salmon and steelhead production that would see closure of Reiter Ponds, Tokul Creek, Forks Creek, Nemah, Whitehorse and Mayr Bros hatcheries, and reductions in fish produced for orcas;

$2.7 million for lands management, wildlife area planning, Westside pheasant program, and at least three officers;

$2.7 million for conservation efforts;

$2.4 million for warmwater gamefish management, along with closure of the Meseberg hatchery;

$2.0 million for trout production that would see the closure of Arlington, Chelan, Naches and Mossyrock hatcheries, impacting a $61 million annual fishery;

And $1.3 million for programs that partner with volunteers to benefit fish and wildlife.

WDFW documents say that a $2.8 million shortfall from Pittman-Robertson excise taxes on guns and ammo would lead to reduced big game work and only half as much elk feeding, while $800,000 in Dingell-Johnson shortfalls would lead to netpen closures on Mayfield Lake and of the Omak Hatchery.

Hatchery grant shortfalls of $2.6 million would impact Toutle, Skamania and Elwha hatcheries, along with fisheries on the Columbia and its tribs.

 

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