Outdoors

Gregoire proposes more deep cuts for Fish and Wildlife budget

Ryan Stingley breaks off flakes of hay while feeding cattle from the back of a trailor while his father, Russ Stingley, drives the tractor on their Kittitas ranch Saturday, March 29, 2008.  (Yakima Herald-Republic)
Ryan Stingley breaks off flakes of hay while feeding cattle from the back of a trailor while his father, Russ Stingley, drives the tractor on their Kittitas ranch Saturday, March 29, 2008. (Yakima Herald-Republic)

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Compensation to Washington farmers and ranchers for deer and elk damage to their crops would be suspended under the governor's latest proposal to slash state agency budgets even further.

And as many as six senior managers in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife would be let go .

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the proposals last week as part of her grim task to begin inflict another round of deep budget cuts throughout the state government.

Fish and Wildlife officials say the agency already has lost 41 percent of its money from the state General Fund (if adjusted for inflation). Under the latest state revenue forecast, Gregoire has been suggesting they must cut the department's budget perhaps by another 5-10 percent — that's $3.45-$6.9 million.

  • Payments to counties in lieu of taxes for state wildlife lands would be reduced.
  • Another 36 staff positions could be cut.
  • Some fish hatchery operations could be curtailed.

The savings must be found somewhere.

This is all “preliminary,” Gregoire said. But unless the agency wins the lottery, more major cuts seem inevitable.

Andy Walgamott's Northwest Sportsman Magazine blog has details on the proposed budget cuts.

Budget information and documents from the Washington Office of Financial Management are available online.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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