FY23-25 Budget Reconciliation Priorities

April 3, 2023

To: The Honorable Christine Rolfes and Lynda Wilson
To: The Honorable Timm Ormsby and Drew Stokesbary
To: The Honorable Steve Tharinger and Mike Steele

Dear Budget Leaders:

Thank you for supporting conservation districts and the State Conservation Commission in developing the FY23-25 Operating and Capital Budgets this session. As you work to reconcile the final budgets, the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) wishes to assist in achieving the state’s natural resource goals by providing comments for your consideration.

WACD’s top priority is the $10 million in Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funding as included in the Senate’s operating budget. CTA ensures all 45 conservation districts throughout the state have the capacity to provide the support and service their customers need and can help reach the ambitious objectives desired by the state. CTA supports technical and financial assistance, engineering, project development and design, and other services needed to empower landowners and others working to conserve our precious natural resources. This funding will help reduce the backlog of individuals and groups requesting district assistance as well as meet the needs implicit in the state’s investment in conservation programs. Currently, 900 Washington farms want a farm plan, over 100 dairy nutrient management plans need to be written, and 3,300 potential restoration sites wait for consultation and evaluation.

An additional priority is ensuring $40 million for riparian restoration projects for the State Conservation Commission is available in the capital budget. Funding riparian restoration from the capital budget would better serve Washington State by not limiting this work to only the next two years. Habitat projects take time to develop and are sensitive to limited construction timelines when work can be done in the streams. The issue of salmon recovery and providing suitable habitat through the restoration of riparian landscapes is a concern for many Washingtonians.

Among our other State Conservation Commission budget priorities:

  • WACD supports the agency requested $9.8 million in funding in the Natural Resource Investment (NRI) capital budget line-item.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s capital budget amount of $4 million for Farmland Preservation & Land Access.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s version of providing $4 million in Shellfish capital budget funding.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s version of providing $3 million in Irrigation Efficiencies capital budget funding.

Again, WACD thanks you for your work in supporting Washington State’s conservation delivery system with funding for the State Conservation Commission and conservation districts.

Very sincerely,

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

To download a copy in Word, click here for our WACD FY 23-25 Budget Reconciliation Priorities