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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is changing the way we communicate with our subscribers to “Land Line.” We are replacing the twice-annual electronic newsletter, “Land Line,” with more frequent news updates and information about WDFW land management. As an e-mail subscriber for Land Line, you’ll receive these e-mails automatically in your e-mail inbox, without linking to a download. As always, you can easily unsubscribe by following the instructions on our WDFW Mailing Lists website. We hope you find this change provides you with more timely and useful information. If you have any questions, please contact Madonna Luers at


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Land Line News Notes

“Land Line” News Notes are produced for e-mail distribution about 10 times a year to provide information about department land management on both public and private land for fish and wildlife habitat needs and for recreation such as hunting, wildlife watching, fishing, camping, hiking, and boating.

July 2012

Jay Hill CampCounties receive 2012 tax payments from WDFW

In spring, WDFW made payments totaling $942,187 to 31 Washington counties for Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and local assessments on land owned by the department.

PILT payments are designed to compensate counties for the loss of local property taxes, which cannot be levied on state-owned lands. In most cases, these payments meet or exceed the amount counties would receive if the property were privately owned and classified as open space for agriculture or forestry.

In addition, WDFW pays annual assessments for weed control, fire protection, storm water control, irrigation, and other services to county governments and local districts.

For 2012, WDFW paid a total of $579,999 to 13 counties for land holdings covering 496,098 acres. The department also paid $362,188 to 28 counties for services provided by local taxing districts.

This year’s total PILT payments were down by about half from last year, due to budget reductions approved by the state Legislature. The state’s new operating budget temporarily freezes PILT at the level paid in 2009, before several counties increased their state payments by shifting to an open-space rate.

Under state law (RCW 77.12.203), counties may choose to base PILT collections on one of three different rates:

  • The rate paid for private land in open-space classification, or
  • 70 cents per acres, or
  • The amount of PILT paid on the parcel in 1984

In all cases, PILT payments are based on WDFW property covering at least 100 contiguous acres. Land managed but not owned by WDFW is not compensable under PILT, nor is the value of buildings or other structures, game farms, fish hatcheries or tidelands on acreage owned by the department.

As an alternative to PILT, counties may elect to retain game violation fines and forfeitures collected by WDFW within their borders.

The table shown here lists all 39 Washington counties, the number of acres eligible for PILT and their payment in 2012.

ADAMS 860 $1,909 $15,776 $17,685
ASOTIN 33,646 $36,123 $0 $36,123
BENTON 0 $0 $3,438 $3,438
CHELAN 26,552 $24,757 $936 $25,693
CLALLAM 0 $0 $2,074 $2,074
CLARK 0 $0 $14,280 $14,280
COLUMBIA 11,270 $7,795 $1,695 $9,490
COWLITZ 0 $0 $930 $930
DOUGLAS 0 $0 $0 $0
FERRY 6,866 $6,781 $992 $7,773
FRANKLIN 0 $0 $4,522 $4,522
GARFIELD 6,934 $4,840 $555 $5,395
GRANT 39,076 $37,443 $35,494 $72,937
GRAYS HARBOR 0 $0 $0 $0
ISLAND 0 $0 $0 $0
JEFFERSON 0 $0 $0 $0
KING 0 $0 $41,417 $41,417
KITSAP 0 $0 $1,616 $1,616
KITTITAS 173,714 $143,974 $11,214 $155,188
KLICKITAT 13,638 $21,906 $980 $22,886
LEWIS 0 $0 $0 $0
LINCOLN 19,340 $13,535 $2,323 $15,858
MASON 0 $0 $168 $168
OKANOGAN 76,032 $151,402 $17,576 $168,978
PACIFIC 0 $0 $988 $988
PEND ORIELLE 3,598 $3,309 $0 $3,309
PIERCE 0 $0 $9,579 $9,579
SAN JUAN 0 $0 $56 $56
SKAGIT 0 $0 $40,333 $40,333
SKAMANIA 0 $0 $0 $0
SNOHOMISH 0 $0 $45,987 $45,987
SPOKANE 0 $0 $1,832 $1,832
STEVENS 0 $0 $0 $0
THURSTON 0 $0 $43,774 $43,774
WAHKIAKUM 0 $0 $0 $0
WALLA WALLA 0 $0 $12 $12
WHATCOM 0 $0 $1,203 $1,203
WHITMAN 0 $0 $0 $0
YAKIMA 84,571 $126,225 $62,437 $188,662
TOTALS 496,098 $579,999 $362,188 $942,187



Conner Lake, Sinlahekin Wildlife Area

May 2012

Check out proposed land acquisitions on-line

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proposals to acquire land for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation are now available at

The new webpage is an opportunity to learn about 21 priority land-acquisition proposals before WDFW seeks funding for them later this year, says Jennifer Quan, WDFW lands division manager. Previous acquisitions or those already underway are not included.

The proposals were recently presented at the state’s annual Land Acquisition Coordinating Forum, which brings together state agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, tribes, landowners and other citizens to share ideas about state land actions for habitat and recreation purposes. (More information on the forum is available at

WDFW will seek funding for the current proposals from state and federal grants administered by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the North American Wetland Conservation Act and the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation.

WDFW’s policy is to purchase land only from willing sellers. The department typically uses grant funding that limits purchase prices to fair-market value as determined by a third-party appraisal. Regardless of funding source, all land acquisitions proposed by WDFW must be approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set WDFW policy.

Quan noted that WDFW is proposing only about half as many property acquisitions this year as it did during the previous two-year major funding cycle.

“Funding is tight – whether for land acquisition or operations and maintenance – so we really have to focus on those properties that provide the greatest benefits for fish and wildlife,” Quan said.

Quan said land acquisition plays an essential role in meeting WDFW’s legislative mandate to protect fish and wildlife, while also providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities.

WDFW currently owns or manages about 900,000 acres in 32 wildlife areas, along with 700 public water-access sites. Those properties provide habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities that contribute several billion dollars to the state’s economy each year.