Washington’s 10 easternmost counties have been largely spared from staff cuts that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday to deal with the state’s huge budget shortfall.
Officials said they would eliminate 76 positions and curtail some services to address the agency’s expected $21 million reduction in funding over the next two years.
Six of the eight positions in the Spokane region originally targeted for layoffs have been restored in the final budget, said Madonna Luers, agency spokeswoman. The agency employs about 120 people in the 10 counties.
“We’re still in discussions with the Colville Tribe regarding funding to maintain the manager at the Colville Fish Hatchery,” she said.
“We’re still waiting to hear whether we can fill a vacant enforcement officer position in Garfield County.”
Most of the staff cuts are in the headquarters office in Olympia, she said, noting that many eliminated positions are already vacant.
Under the 2009-’11 budget, the department will receive $81.2 million from the state general fund, a reduction of about $30 million from the current biennium.
Measures approved by the Legislature this year, especially increases in hunting and fishing license fees, are expected to partially offset that reduction with about $9 million in new revenue.
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