After years of one-time allocations to fight invasive Eurasian water milfoil in Idaho lakes and water bodies, the budget set for next year for the state Department of Agriculture calls for making the program permanent, with next year’s $900,000 appropriation equalizing this year’s, but for the first time, not being classified as a one-time expenditure. One-time funds have been allocated to the program each year for the last seven years. “It appears that, although great strides have been made, the milfoil problem is not going away, and the department will need to sustain a program,” said Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield. The budget includes a clause specifying that if less than $900,000 is spent on milfoil control and eradication, any extra should go to noxious weed control.
Miller’s motion passed on a unanimous, 19-0 vote. It shows a general-fund increase for Ag next year of 0.8 percent, identical to the governor’s recommendation, and a 1.8 percent drop in overall funds, largely because of falling federal funds.