Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed 2023-25 operating and capital budgets include a significant increase in funding for the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC).
Budget highlights include:
· $100 million for a new salmon riparian grant program.
· $2 million for outreach and education efforts around riparian buffers.
· $15 million for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)— nearly double the amount SCC requested.
The governor's proposed budgets include funding for all decision packages SCC requested. If approved, the funding would bring exciting challenges and opportunities. The SCC and conservation districts will need to demonstrate the effectiveness of our programs. SCC is committed to working with the governor's office to develop methods of targeting priority areas, implementing needed practices, and documenting progress and results.
"The foundation for this substantial budget is built on the significant collaborative achievements of the agency and Washington's conservation districts in implementing essential incentive-based conservation programs," said Chris Pettit, SCC’s executive director. "The efforts of conservation districts as the locally-led experts in coordinating these programs results in the most efficient implementation of projects to achieve vital natural resource outcomes to benefit the environment and species of the state."
During the upcoming 2023 legislative session, SCC and the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) will continue to work with state legislators to ensure that their budget proposals reflect the governor's.
"We must communicate to legislators that we can make significant progress on our natural resources goals with this funding," said SCC’s Director of Policy and Inter-governmental Relations, Ron Shultz. “SCC is confident that with the additional resources to support conservation districts’ on-the-ground efforts, we will be able to make timely and impactful strides that justify ongoing investments in our conservation work. “