Based on WACD’s active resolutions and reviewed by the WACD’s Board of Directors, these are the Association’s policy priorities in the 2022 legislative session.

Conservation District Elections

WACD supports HB 1652 to update the conservation districts election system. We support the modernization features of the legislation (four-year term of office, elections held every other year) and maintaining local control of conservation district election procedures. Adopting the recommendations from the Joint Committee on Elections – a combined effort of the Washington State Conservation Commission and WACD – can increase outreach while maintaining local flexibility, in recognition of the unique duties of these special purpose districts operating without taxing or regulatory authority.

Salmon Riparian Habitat

WACD supports the goal of salmon recovery and believes it should not be achieved at the expense of the time-tested and effective voluntary conservation delivery system. Conservation districts exist to provide an incentive-based approach to natural resource conservation, yet are hindered by the absence of the necessary financial commitment to achieving the outcome of improved salmon habitat. Proposals like HB 1838 present an unbalanced solution that undercuts the voluntary approach to conservation. If voluntary conservation programs were adequately funded, we would not need this heavy-handed regulatory approach to salmon recovery. We seek to increase the state’s support for voluntary conservation programs like VSP, CREP, or EQIP as part of any salmon recovery proposal.

Technical Assistance in Support of Improved Voluntary Stewardship

WACD supports HB 1631 and recognizes the need to increase conservation districts’ ability to assist producers and landowners in increasing energy efficiency and providing information on local, state, and federal funding opportunities to implement practices that help reduce the carbon footprint.

Rangeland Fire Protection District Pilot Project

WACD supports HB 1891 and future legislation that authorizes and supports the creation of rangeland fire protection districts in Washington State to allow those on unprotected lands to have access to the training and equipment necessary for the detection, prevention, or suppression of wildfire.

Agricultural Worker Overtime

WACD supports HB 1750 and other legislation that reinstates the historic agricultural work exemptions from certain overtime standards during periods of harvest.

Stock Water Rights

WACD supports SB 5882 and the need to clarify riparian stock watering rights. Removing the off-channel watering exemption would significantly impair the potential for voluntary water quality and riparian habitat protections. It jeopardizes livestock grazing operations which do not have previously documented water rights.