The facts are pretty simple… Lawmakers in Olympia have still not approved state operating and capital budgets for the next biennium, which commences July 1st. As they head into a 3rd special session of the legislature, they must reach a budget agreement or most state agencies, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife will shut down. Among the direct impacts of a WDFW closure would be:
- Closures on most/all recreational and commercial fisheries in-state, as staff cannot monitor, sample, account for the catch, or enforce regulations.
The care and feeding of non-Endangered Species Act listed fish in hatcheries, such as trout and salmon, and captive pheasants at the Bob Oke Game Farm, will not occur, resulting in the potential loss of future fishing and hunting opportunity.
Unsurprisingly, there are equal parts exasperation and anger at the prospect of yet-another summer with legal and political issues dominating the headlines. An open day of fishing on Puget Sound generates nearly a quarter million dollars of economic activity — and in many cases the guide trips and license revenue have been booked and paid for already.
While we’re all weary of the battles — North of Falcon, Open Meetings, and now State Budgets — but decisions are and always will be made by those who show up. Take that 10 minutes and let your legislator know that this isn’t just government and politics — it’s personal: