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bushwhacker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was a thread about this a few weeks back, but now that WDFW's fee increase proposal is being taken up by the state legislature, it seems to be mostly flying under the radar.

It's worth noting that if increased Department funding doesn't come through, some serious opportunities could be on the chopping block, Skagit fishery included.

Yes, paying more sucks. But for an increase of roughly $27 a year it's likely worth it. Please consider attending the hearing tomorrow or submitting a comment via phone, email or the online comment form.

http://wildsteelheadcoalition.org/2...-hearing-tomorrow-in-support-of-wdfw-revenue/

Want to fish the Skagit next spring? Attend a hearing tomorrow in support of WDFW revenue

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 9th at 1:30 p.m. there will be a hearing in Olympia about an important proposal to increase revenue for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), including through modest license fee increases.

Anglers and fish advocates should consider attending and speaking up on behalf ofHouse Bill 1647,which would increase annual combination fishing licenses by approximately $10 to just shy of $65, as well as add a new $17 charge for salmon and steelhead catch cards.

This would put the total for Washington sportfishing opportunities (with catch cards and the Columbia River Endorsement) at roughly $100. While this sum may seem like a lot, it's about the same as gas in the truck for one trip around the Olympic Peninsula. And it's hardly more than what some ski resorts are charging for a lift ticket this winter. The $27 increase is about the same as the cost of one case of IPAs for steelhead camp (or slightly more than a thirty rack of Busch, your call).We believe this is a reasonable increase, and our fish, wildlife, and those who steward them are worth the investment.

Why are we asking you to speak up on behalf of fee increases and increased revenue for WDFW? Well, first let us acknowledge that this is complicated.

Washington anglers know that these are not the best of times. Despite promising signs of a comeback on some Puget Sound streams, wild steelhead runs on the Olympic Peninsula and in Grays Harbor watersheds continue to decline. In much of our state, salmon returns have been stark in recent years, with a frustrating reduction in angler opportunities accompanying them. Wild steelhead returns and steelhead fishing in the Snake and upper Columbia tributaries followed a similar pattern in 2016. While our state continues to offer some incredibly diverse and abundant fisheries, quality and crowding are increasing issues. We absolutely understand that this is a tough time for the state to ask for more money from sportsmen.

But let us be clear: it can get worse. And some things are getting better, but progress will be compromised without increased revenue for the Department.Let's start with the example of the Skagit.

The Skagit River is the bright spot in Steelhead Country. With recent returns pushing 9,000 wild fish and trending upwards, a management plan for late winter and early spring catch and release wild steelhead fisheries (and some managed tribal harvest) has been submitted to federal agencies for review. If approved, these fisheries, which are widely desired by Washington's anglers for both direct fishing opportunity and as a chance to divert pressure from the coastal rivers, could open as soon as early 2018. But without increased funding, it might never happen.

Reopening a three-month fishery on more than 50 miles of river takes money: funding for enforcement staff, boats, trucks and gas, funding for spawning surveys, creel (or encounter) checks, co-management meetings, and much more. The same is true of the wild steelhead recovery work required under Washington's Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, much of which has been long delayed due to existing budget and capacity issues at the Department.

WDFW makes the critical need for increased revenue clear on theirWild Future Initiative webpages, the online home for their comprehensive legislative package (including the fee increase through HB 1647) that was developed over the course of 18 months and includes input from multiple public and stakeholder listening sessions:

"Maintaining existing fisheries means something different now than it has in previous biennia. In the past, maintaining fisheries has meant level funding. Today, it means something very different. Increased costs associated with legislative actions and costs associated with ESA permitting have created a significant funding gap."

Puget Sound fisheries management, including Harvest Management Plans, Endangered Species Act Coverage, and fisheries monitoring are directly referenced in the Department's "What's At Risk" information regarding revenue needs.To assume a new Skagit wild steelhead fishery is not on the chopping block if budgets are short is optimistic at best and naïve at worst.

Puget Sound marine fisheries, ocean salmon treaty monitoring, Columbia River fisheries, endangered salmonid recovery work, fish and wildlife law enforcement, even the development of a much-needed mobile catch reporting app; all of these things are on anglers' and WDFW's wish lists and could also be sidelined if House Bill 1647 and the Department's General Fund revenue requests don't come through.

Overall, WDFW is requesting a $60 million package from the Legislature, with the majority of that coming from General Fund tax dollars for things like more enforcement officers, habitat projects, and fishing and hunting opportunities - things that benefit sportsmen, local communities, and the state as a whole.However, the license fee increases are an important component, especially for securing new fishing opportunity, and even more so with the General Fund request at-risk during this contentious legislative session focused on other priorities. WDFW is also proposing an across-the-board 10 percent increase to hunting licenses.

Yes, the fishing might be tough these days. But as anglers (and hunters) we have a responsibility to help fund the management and conservation of our state's fish and wildlife. For the Skagit wild steelhead fishery, for continued wild steelhead recovery work in our state, and for all the other opportunities and conservation efforts we prize, it's worth the extra thirty bucks. Support HB 1647.

Thursday's hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will be held in House Hearing Room B of the John L. O'Brien Building (Google Maps,Capitol Campus Map).

Those wishing to voice public testimony, or submit written testimony, should follow instructions from committee staff to sign-up to speak or submit written comments immediately before the meeting begins. Staff and sign-up sheets are generally available at a table outside the room door. Additionally, emailing supportive comments to the committee chair Rep. Brian Blake ([email protected]) and other committee members is helpful.

Comments can also be submitted to bill sponsors online here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill//1647.
 

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$27 for in state..will likely equate to $50 for non-resident. If they push this through...Oregon will reciprocate...which will not be good for either State overall. (same thing that happened the last time one of them made a large increase like this)

I'm a big fan of Fisheries money being removed from being handled by the General Fund where there is more transparency personally.
 

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Strange times make strange bedfellows....

By getting in bed with WDFW so you can fish the Skagit (or not), you're essentially dismissing the HORRIFIC job they did of supporting our common interests last season, and giving them a fat raise in the process.

I fully support getting you guys back on the Skagit, and I get that this may be one way to do that, but there's got to be a better way than this pay to play bullshit. Remember that the Skagit fisheries and the enforcement thereof are grandfathered into the existing budget structure, and be assured that if we do pay more for our licenses this year, the money won't be buying back those fisheries. More likely, it will go straight to hatcheries, to produce more of the fish you so despise, in places where you wouldn't be allowed to fish for them if you wanted to.

No letters of support from this angler. No license will be purchased, either, fee increase or no, until they figure out who they are paid to serve (or, rather, who pays the biggest chunk for their service).
 

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I do not support the fishing license increases because opportunity has diminished. I will not pay more for less. Also it would be far more than an extra $27.00 a year for a lot of fisherman. For instance after purchasing a freshwater license, saltwater license, shellfish license, salmon catch card, steelhead catch card, halibut catch card, Columbia river endorsement and a discover pass it would probably be closer to a $60.00 to $100.00 increase. The WDFW has not supported recreational fisherman in the past 30 years, period! I am not going to pay for a corvette and be happy walking away with a metro.

Also I will not buy a Washington fishing license this year (with or without the license increase) until the NOF falcon process is complete and recreational fisherman have fair and equitable fishing seasons on par with our co managers.

In fact I encourage others to not buy a fishing license this year as well. The only thing the WDFW cares about is money. If we stop paying their wages by not purchasing licenses they might be inclined to provide us with fishing opportunities and stand up for rec fisherman.
 

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So for that cost you get what 11 months of fishing in Washington state? I just paid $15 for 46 Owner SSW 1's. I think if some did a cost analysis of what it cost an angler to fish for the year in WA - its pretty fucking cheap - you should see what I pay for my oldest daughter's soccer season that last four months or what I pay for "old men's league" ice hockey - that runs from Oct through March.

I never like to see increases - but this to me is a little fly shit in the pepper -
 

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I think saying the Skagit C&R season is contingent upon a license fee is disingenuous. But that is how these guys stay relevant. Create fear in the fishermen to support their particular agenda. Seems to be the new way. If something happens it's so and so's fault. We tried to warn you.
 

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I am solidly behind the license increase. This is chump change in the grand scheme of life. Just the opportunity to fish in Pugetropolis is worth the coin.
 

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I agree with Kerry. Connecting the license fee increases with the Skagit season is duplicitous. Or disingenuous. Or both.

I object to the fee increases on the grounds that WDFW uses recreational funds to spend on commercial fishing maangement and enhancement. If the Legislature and WDFW will spend proportionately, either by reducing commercial catch allocations or increasing commercial fishing fees, or both, then I'd pay double the current cost of my fishing license. But I'm tired of subsidizing the commercials while recreational opportunity is continually reduced.

Sg
 

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So for that cost you get what 11 months of fishing in Washington state? I just paid $15 for 46 Owner SSW 1's. I think if some did a cost analysis of what it cost an angler to fish for the year in WA - its pretty fucking cheap - you should see what I pay for my oldest daughter's soccer season that last four months or what I pay for "old men's league" ice hockey - that runs from Oct through March.

I never like to see increases - but this to me is a little fly shit in the pepper -
In the grand scheme of things yes but I'm not going to continue to fund a inept department. Also, unless your fishing trout or bass I did not get to fish anywhere for 11 months out of the year in 2016.
The salmon debacle and no puget sound steelhead is ridiculous.
 

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I agree with Kerry. Connecting the license fee increases with the Skagit season is duplicitous. Or disingenuous. Or both.

I object to the fee increases on the grounds that WDFW uses recreational funds to spend on commercial fishing maangement and enhancement. If the Legislature and WDFW will spend proportionately, either by reducing commercial catch allocations or increasing commercial fishing fees, or both, then I'd pay double the current cost of my fishing license. But I'm tired of subsidizing the commercials while recreational opportunity is continually reduced.

Sg
You hit the nail on the head as usual!
 

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Make my day
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Question, do the existing license fees cover all of the costs of fishing in Washington state? Operation, enforcement, maintenance and management? Or are these supplemented by the general fund?

I don't know the answer to that, but I doubt it. I don't think we get our fair share of value for what is being spent. But if all things were equal and we had to pay what it really costs, it would probably be more.

I still think we get a lot for the costs us. And I firmly believe in paying my fair share of those costs. Therefore I will be supporting this. Not Because I think the state is doing a great job. But because it's what is needed to keep things from getting worse.

My boss charges nearly 3 times my wage per hour for my services. I get that. That's what it really costs to have me out there working and still cover the costs of running things. He doesn't make much more then I do. Thinking of the costs involved in running F & G it is what it is. State employees make a good wage with great benefits. These costs are not something that can really be avoided.

I will pay for the license and will get a great value for it so long as I can use the opportunities offered.
 

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In the grand scheme of things yes but I'm not going to continue to fund a inept department.[/QUOTE said:
I understand where your coming form and agree totally with SG comments and thoughts on this - but I bet you a beer you do fund an inept department - I will
 

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Question, do the existing license fees cover all of the costs of fishing in Washington state? Operation, enforcement, maintenance and management? Or are these supplemented by the general fund?

I don't know the answer to that, but I doubt it. I don't think we get our fair share of value for what is being spent. But if all things were equal and we had to pay what it really costs, it would probably be more.

I still think we get a lot for the costs us. And I firmly believe in paying my fair share of those costs. Therefore I will be supporting this. Not Because I think the state is doing a great job. But because it's what is needed to keep things from getting worse.

My boss charges nearly 3 times my wage per hour for my services. I get that. That's what it really costs to have me out there working and still cover the costs of running things. He doesn't make much more then I do. Thinking of the costs involved in running F & G it is what it is. State employees make a good wage with great benefits. These costs are not something that can really be avoided.

I will pay for the license and will get a great value for it so long as I can use the opportunities offered.
http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/

About 61% of the WDFW budget comes from State, Federal, and Local general funds.
 

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bushwhacker
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I think saying the Skagit C&R season is contingent upon a license fee is disingenuous. But that is how these guys stay relevant. Create fear in the fishermen to support their particular agenda. Seems to be the new way. If something happens it's so and so's fault. We tried to warn you.
By the way I have no problem with the increase. I don't like the tactics be used by WSC, reminds me of our current administration.
Sometimes sharing concern is a valid tactic to motivate action. That's politics. It's fine if you don't like WSC's tactics, there's other groups that also deserve support. Though I think your comparison to the Trump administration is hyperbole.

In this case, there is significant and valid concern that this fee increase may not pass without a show of support to encourage the House Nat Resources committee to advance it, and R's in the state Senate to back it. Do we think this is perfect timing or are we happy with everything the Dept does? Hell no, as was clearly stated in the article.

But because of these concerns, because we believe the increase amount is reasonable considering the agency's current demands, and due to the fact that the ramifications if this doesn't pass have the potential to be severe, we felt this piece was appropriate. Does any of this mean there will be zero chance of a Skagit C&R fishery if HB 1647 fails? Absolutely not, and the article never uses the word "contingent".

The proposed Skagit C&R fishery is just one moving piece in a complex landscape of tight agency budgets during a time when WDFW is under pressure to provide new fishing opportunities, better representation in fish and wildlife decision-making, increased fish and wildlife recovery efforts, additional attention to ESA-listed and non-game species, and new technologies and information sharing. All of these things are reasonable, but they all require funding.

We received information from the Dept that "Puget Sound fisheries management, including Harvest Management Plans, Endangered Species Act Coverage, and fisheries monitoring" are at risk if additional funding does not come through this session, jeopardizing angling opportunity and ongoing conservation efforts.

Kerry it's great to hear you may have alternate information about direct funding for the Skagit, at least for the first year or two. I hope that information is true. But I can tell you with full confidence based on my experience working in Olympia that WDFW's General Fund request is going to be a very tough sell this session. That puts even more pressure on passing HB 1647, which is also facing an uphill battle without bi-partisan sponsorship and in the face of reasonable angler frustration.

You can quibble about the language of the piece all you want, but considering this larger and potentially dire revenue landscape, I believe WSC's concerns about the Skagit fishery and our call to support HB 1647 are valid. If you feel otherwise, I respect your right to your opinion.

(Note this is a $10 increase on a basic combo fishing license, close to a $50 increase if you buy every catch card and endorsement. Reference, page 15. Still less than gas for one trip to the OP...)
 

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Very little is state general fund. About 20% is recreational license fees, and that's far and away the most any one user group contributes.

It's not about the money. Yes, compared to what we spend in a month going fishing, our licenses are cheap. This is a question of principle.
 
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