Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund – The final FY 14 budget included $65M for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF). The President’s proposed budget for PCSRF in FY 15 is again set at $50M. These funds provide for capacity (e.g. UCSRB) and implementation (e.g. SRFB funds). For over a decade, the PCSRF has returned multiples in rural economies from these federal investments. Current research suggests that each $1 invested through PCSRF generates at least another $2.5 in local economic activity.
Invasive Species – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife helped to introduce legislation in the House (2458) and Senate (6040) regarding invasive species. The proposed bill had strong backing from a variety of organizations after more than a year of stakeholder input. The Senate version passed on March 13, and will be delivered to the Governor.
Fish Barrier Removal – The House (2251) introduced legislation this session that furthered the state’s effort mandated under the west side “culvert case.” The proposed bill established criteria for three types of projects: (1) eliminating human-made or caused fish passage barriers, including repair and replacement; (2) restoration of an eroded or unstable streambank through bioengineering; and (3) placement of woody debris or other instream structures that benefit naturally reproducing fish stocks. The legislation requires applicants to submit a JARPA and requires the state to respond in 45 days. Furthermore, the legislation prohibits local government permits or fees for fish habitat enhancement projects that meet the criteria, and it further limits any civil liability on the state or its employees, except upon proof of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. Projects must be approved by a fish passage barrier removal board. The bill passed and was delivered to the Governor for signature on March 13, 2014.