Conservation Commission News

House and Senate release proposed 2023-2025 budgets

House and Senate release proposed 2023-2025 budgets

Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) staff have prepared a summary of budget proposals from the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office as they support SCC and conservation district or CD's work.

The Senate and the House released their budget proposals within the last week. The Governor released his proposal in December. You can see the 2023-25 Operating and Capital Budget table here.

This table is a comparison of what the SCC requested and what has been proposed by the Governor’s Office, Senate, and House. It also includes summaries of any details / proviso language tied to each proposed budget item.

SCC had several 2023 budget requests — seven in for the operating and 10 for the capital budgets.

Note: Budget proposals include some funding for items not requested by our agency but that address long-documented CD/SCC needs and contribute to shared priorities, such as salmon recovery and climate-smart farming. 

Key provisions, and differences, in the proposed budgets

As you can see from the comparison table, there are some key differences between the proposed operating and capital budgets for SCC.

The good news is that all the budgets demonstrate confidence in the ability of CDs to implement projects on the ground, protect our natural resources, support farming across the state and increase community resilience from wildfire and other disasters.  

Here’s where the two chambers agree:

  • Community Engagement Plan - $250,000
  • Disaster Assistance Program (DAP) - $600,000
  • Voluntary Stewardship Monitoring - $1,420,000
  • Riparian Restoration Projects Outreach & Education - $3,000,000
  • Forest Health and Community Wildfire Resiliency - $5,000,000
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) - $3,000,000
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP Cost Share & TA) - $4,000,000 and the PIP loan program at $100,000
  • VSP Project Funding- $3,000,000
  • Washington Shrubsteppe Restoration Resiliency Initiative (WSRRI) - $1,500,000

Here’s where they differ, and SCC’s notes for consideration:

Operating Budget

Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA)

  • Senate - $10,000,000
  • House - $1,000,000
  • Notes - The Senate budget is for one-time funding and the House version is for ongoing funding. SCC would like to see CTA funded at the Senate's level and ongoing like in the House's proposal. 

Ag Science Program (Ecosystem Monitoring)

  • Senate - $1,250,000
  • House - $1,000,000 (one-time funding at $500K per fiscal year)
  • Notes - Funding our Ag Science Program gives us the opportunity to collaboratively monitor and quantify the applied and social sciences of voluntary conservation on agricultural land. One-time funding is not sufficient for us to capture the benefits in targeted watersheds. If funding is limited to 2023-25 SCC would seek additional funding in the 25-27 biennium.

Salmon Riparian Education and Communications                         

  • Senate - $3,000,000
  • House - $0
  • Note - This funding in the Senate budget would allow SCC to launch a multimedia campaign about the role of riparian restoration in salmon recovery.

Riparian Restoration Project for Salmon Recovery                                            

  • Senate -  $40,000,000
  • House - $0 (riparian restoration funding is in the House Capital Budget)
  • Note - SCC would prefer the Senate funding level but that the money come from the capital budget like the House proposal.

Sustainable Farms and Fields – Climate-Smart Livestock Management

  • Senate - $40,000,000
  • House - $23,000,000
  • Notes - The funding in the Senate budget comes from the Natural Climate Solutions Account and would expand SFF specifically to provide cost-share for anaerobic digesters, TA/FA for other climate-smart livestock management and carbon-sequestering practices on farmland, and fund research and demo projects. The funding in the House version comes from the Climate Commitment Account and provides one-time funding for the development of anaerobic digesters.

Firewise Projects

  • Senate - $10,000,000
  • House - $0
  • Note - The $10 million in the Senate budget is allocated for fiscal year 2024.  SCC would like to see this allocation expended over the course of at least two biennia at $2 million per fiscal year. 

A chart comparing the different funding levels between the House, Senate, Governor and Agency request budgets.
Dive deeper into the operating budgets here.

Capital Budget

Riparian Grant Program

  • Senate - $0 (riparian restoration funding is in operating budget)
  • House - $25,000,000
  • Note - SCC would prefer that the riparian restoration grant funding is in the capital budget. 

Farmland Protection and Land Access

  • Senate - $4,000,000
  • House - $2,000,000
  • Note -  SCC does not believe that $2 million is sufficient funding for this work. When launched, FPLA went through its initial $2 million in funding in just six months. SCC would prefer the funding to be at $4 million. 

Irrigation Efficiencies (IEP)                           

  • Senate - $3,000,000
  • House  - $2,000,000
  • Note - SCC prefers the Senate funding level.  


  • Senate - $4,000,000
  • House  - $3,500,000
  • Note - SCC prefers the Senate funding level
A chart comparing the different funding levels between the House, Senate, Governor and Agency request budgets.
Dive deeper into the capital budgets here.

What’s next?

The House and Senate budget committees are taking action on their proposed budgets currently. The proposed budget bills will then go the floor of each chamber for a vote. After that, the two sides will meet in conference committees to resolve any differences between the budgets.

It’s in the conference committee where the differences between the House and Senate versions relating to SCCs budget will be resolved. SCC will be sending a message to the legislative budget writers with our requests relating to the differences in the budgets. 

The two chambers will finalize an agreed upon budget for final passage prior to the scheduled end of session on April 23, 2023. (cutoff calendar)

Once enacted, the final 2023-2025 budget will take effect for the July 1, 2023.