Restoring Washington’s Biodiversity 2023 Legislative Report


Published: February 2024

Pages: 34

Executive Summary

Habitat loss and degradation, climate change effects, pollution, wildlife diseases, and invasive species threaten Washington’s biodiversity. Fish and wildlife are public resources, and it is the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) mandate to conserve and protect them for current and future Washingtonians.

In the 2023 Legislative Session, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife requested dedicated funding to support implementation of Washington’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), including conservation actions for Priority Habitats and Species (PHS) and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). The Legislature provided $24 million of that request for the 2023-25 biennium, with $31 million ongoing beginning in the 2025-27 biennium. This funding will increase WDFW’s capacity to recover atrisk species and their habitats, develop efforts to evaluate and manage other SGCN, and engage in crucial public education and outreach efforts.

By engaging in a broader scope of conservation, WDFW has a greater opportunity to prevent more species from needing protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This can reduce regulatory burdens on local communities and have greater success at recovering Washington’s biodiversity.

Washington’s SWAP is under revision, with an updated version scheduled for 2025.

This report will primarily elaborate upon key conservation actions that have been implemented, are in progress, or are planned for the $8 million allocated in Fiscal Year (FY) 24, including actions to recover most-imperiled species, improve protection of habitats/ecosystems, and engage and educate the public on conservation and biodiversity.