At their January regular business meeting last Thursday, the Conservation Commission reviewed the legislation and heard from the Governor’s policy staff on the bill. During the discussion, the commissioners reviewed various options on whether to support the bill.
Ultimately, the commissioners decided rather than focus on the bill itself, they wanted to support a series of principles they would like to see in any legislation regarding salmon recovery and incentive programs. This allows for flexibility as discussions continue around the legislature on the bill.
The Commission took the following position on HB 1215:
There was a motion brought forward by Commissioner Longrie to support the conceptual framework of the proposed HB 1215, based on the principles outlined in option 2 of the staff memo of 1/19, while supporting the retention of the proposed $100,000,000 salmon recovery funding for the Conservation Commission in the Governor’s proposed capital budget. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Mumford and the motion passes.
The principles referenced in the motion:
1. Incentive-based approaches for engaging landowners for salmon riparian protection and restoration have proven to be effective, particularly when implemented in a manner to achieve the most linear protections and restoration.
2. Prior work on engaging with landowners has demonstrated flexibility in discussions on the practices to be implemented leads to greater landowner engagement, rather than mandated approaches.
3. The Commission should retain approval authority for any funding criteria for funds within the Commission’s purview.
4. An incentive-based riparian protection and restoration program should allow for increasing the length of riparian areas protected and restored, while also providing appropriate width to provide needed functions.
5. Implementation of a riparian incentive-based program should allow for focused approaches that target critical geographic areas where the need for riparian restoration is greatest.
6. Opportunities for long-term and permanent protections should be among the options made available to landowners.
7. The Commission should have the flexibility to make available to grant recipients a variety of incentive-based options for riparian protection and restoration.
8. State agency coordination on overall outcomes is needed, with equal consideration given to incentive-based approaches and regulatory approaches. The state focus should be on the progress toward the needed outcome using these two approaches.
9. Commission flexibility to identify other agencies (local, state, federal, and tribal) with programs that could compliment the work implemented with funding available to the Commission for salmon recovery work.
For more information, contact Ron Shultz, SCC Policy Director via email at firstname.lastname@example.org