OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet July 28 to hear briefings on budget and policy issues proposed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for submission to the 2007 Legislature.
The briefings, which are open to the public, are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St., in Olympia.
The upcoming briefing session, like one held June 11 in Wenatchee, is designed to lay the groundwork for commission action on the department’s budget proposals in August, said Ron McQueen, WDFW assistant director for business services. Department staff also will discuss several changes in state law WDFW plans to propose during the next legislative session.
“This is our second round of briefings with the commission on budget proposals for 2007,” McQueen said. “The upcoming meeting will focus on how our draft proposals align with the department’s strategic plan.”
The commission, a nine-member citizen panel that sets policy for WDFW, must approve the department’s final recommendations before they are submitted to the Governor’s Office and the state Legislature in September.
Public comment periods are scheduled during the July meeting after briefings on each of five topics, which include:
- New legislation proposed by the department, including one measure that would redirect fees generated by the sale of saltwater fishing and shellfish licenses into the Wildlife Fund. Currently those revenues are deposited in the State General Fund. Other measures proposed by WDFW would expand the hunter-access program and increase penalties for hunters that trespass on private lands while pursuing big game.
- WDFW’s 2007-09 operating budget request, which would support departmental operations in the two-year budget period that begins June 30, 2007.
- The department’s 2007-09 capital budget request, which would support the capital-construction costs for habitat restoration projects, hatcheries and other facilities during the same two-year period.
- WDFW’s supplemental operating budget request to fund unanticipated operating expenses incurred during the current fiscal year. Examples include costs related to wildfires and avian influenza sampling in wild birds.
- The department’s supplemental capital budget request to meet unexpected costs associated with WDFW-owned facilities during the current fiscal year.
A preliminary agenda for the meeting is posted on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/jul2806.htm.