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Discussion Starter #1
Lawmakers take aim at Fish and Wildlife funds

Agency says accounting for how fees are used is complicated
Adam Wilson
The Olympian

Saturday January 12, 2007

Untangling the money paid by hunters and fishers from the rest of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's budget would be a mammoth task, a new report says.

"There's always been that issue," WDFW business services assistant director Ron McQueen said. "Grappling with the question, given the money that comes in here, where does it go to benefit the people who are paying? That's a very complex issue."

Lawmakers asked for an analysis of where the agency's money comes from and how it is spent.

Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-­Vancouver, said lawmakers wanted to raise hunting and fishing license fees to make up for shortfalls in some department accounts.

Others resisted. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said she had heard the wildlife account filled with those fees already had been "robbed" to pay for non-sporting programs.

A report on the department's finances was presented to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee this week.

"The intention of the proviso was to get to a clear, defined division of these functions tied to the fees," Pridemore said. "This doesn't appear to provide that."

"The line â€" this is hunting and fishing and this is other stuff â€" doesn't seem to be a clean one," analyst John Woolley replied.

The agency has 27 funds that provide $142.6 million a year for 1,680 programs, the report says. Each fund, such as federal salmon recovery money, can have restrictions on how it is spent. Others are mingled.

Further complicating the issue, the report found license sales have dropped off by 400,000 since 1989, to 1.4 million. But revenue from those sales has gone up, to $29.7 million in 2006.

The audit couldn't explain the trend, except to note hunters now buy a single license for deer, elk, cougar and bear; each used to require a separate license.

Auditors did attempt to separate "taking" programs that help support game fish and animals from "non-taking" programs not intended to benefit sports people, Woolley added. They found the agency's activities were about equally divided along those lines.

That was little help to lawmakers.

"The word 'bureaucracy' comes to mind when I listen to all this," Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Kitsap County, said. "It seems to me the Legislature has created part of the dilemma by creating so many restricted accounts."

Asked if there was a way to find out where exactly hunting and fishing fees are spent, Woolley said it would take a more complex accounting system to track the funds and the time spent by agency workers on sporting activities.

The most positive aspect of the report might be the light it sheds on how complex the budget is, McQueen said, adding some misconceptions of the use of license fees have lingered since the departments of game and fish merged in 1994.

"Some people think historically that the wildlife fund can only be used for game, and general fund is used for fish," he said. "I think the … study will be useful in seeing the facts for what they are."

Adam Wilson covers state workers and politics for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-753-1688 or [email protected].
 

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Here are the points of emphasis.....

"license sales have dropped off by 400,000 since 1989" As I've said many times....fewer and fewer fishermen, fishing in fewer and fewer locations

"revenue from those sales has gone up, to $29.7 million in 2006"

"The agency has 27 funds that provide $142.6 million a year for 1,680 programs" That's the total budget. License sales account for only 20% of the budget.

We really have no basis to complain about where our license fees go. We put a dollar in and get 5 out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
SalmonSeeker said:
"revenue from those sales has gone up, to $29.7 million in 2006"
SalmonSeeker said:
We really have no basis to complain about where our license fees go. We put a dollar in and get 5 out.
:?: :?: :?:
And where did those other 4 dollars come from?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The agency has 27 funds that provide $142.6 million a year for 1,680 programs…
What are those 1,680 programs?

Others resisted. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said she had heard the wildlife account filled with those fees already had been "robbed" to pay for non-sporting programs.
Then they say…

Auditors did attempt to separate "taking" programs that help support game fish and animals from "non-taking" programs not intended to benefit sports people, Woolley added. They found the agency's activities were about equally divided along those lines.
Again, what are those 1,680 programs?

But when you read the agency mandate…

The department shall conserve the wildlife and food fish, game fish, and shellfish resources in a manner that does not impair the resource. In a manner consistent with this goal, the department shall seek to maintain the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry in the state. The department shall promote orderly fisheries and shall enhance and improve recreational and commercial fishing in this state.

The commission may authorize the taking of wildlife, food fish, game fish, and shellfish only at times or places, or in manners or quantities, as in the judgment of the commission does not impair the supply of these resources.

The commission shall attempt to maximize the public recreational game fishing and hunting opportunities of all citizens, including juvenile, disabled, and senior citizens.
How does it apply if one doesn't even know what those programs are? Maybe you might think that your getting a lot for your buck, but those 400,000 less license sales tells me that people aren't getting what they had paid for. Maybe its time to let the bird watchers and the other user groups pay there fair shares. Can anyone come up with the list of those 1,680 programs?
 

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This is a very intriging thred, sure am curious now as to where all that money is spent. Yoy could even ask where all the violation ticket money goes as well. Tup: Tdown:
 

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spareoar said:
This is a very intriging thred, sure am curious now as to where all that money is spent. Yoy could even ask where all the violation ticket money goes as well. Tup: Tdown:
99% of the ticket money goes to the jurisdiction (county, city) where the infraction occured and was prosecuted. IT DOES NOT go to the WDFW, by and large.

CF---Good post. Who knew that the states' accounting system could suck sooo bad. A private firm would be tarred and feathered for that kind of complete incompetence. Now what??
 

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Cowfisherman-nice post! It is kind of like finding WALDO, just where is the money? Tup:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If sportsmen knew our history of how we got to where we are now, one must now ask how on earth do we now have over 1,680 different "programs"?

Here is a bit of our own WDFW History. What can we all learn from these WDFW facts of history? :?:

HISTORY OF GAME FISH ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON
In 1889 Washington achieved statehood and the Department of Fisheries and Game was established. In 1890 James Crawford was appointed the first Fish Commissioner of the State, and between 1890 and 1898 had three deputies to assist in regulating a statewide industry. Between 1897 and 1913 A.C. Little (1899-1902), T.R. Kershaw (1902-1905) and John L. Riseland (1906-1913) were appointed Fish Commissioner. During this time numerous salmon hatcheries, oyster reserves and a few trout hatcheries were provided. Shortly after the Department of Fisheries and Game was created (1903) a county system of Game Commissions was established with each county having a game warden appointed by the Commission. Money received from county licenses went into the county game fund. However, in 1913 the new Game and Game-Fish Codes provided for a chief Game Warden for the State. This code was enacted because the sportsmen and conservationists were displeased with the Fish Commissioners who gave little attention to the game and game fish of the State (WDFG, 1916, 1st Annual Report, Chief Game Warden). In order to prohibit a separation of the food fisheries and game and game fish interests, Governor Lister appointed L.H. Darwin in 1913 as both Fish Commissioner and Chief Game Warden. Governor Lister believed that the control of game and fish should remain under one department. Darwin remained the unifying factor until 1921 when a new Civil Administration Code provided for a Director of the Department of Fisheries and Game and within this Department, the creation of the Division of Fisheries and Division of Game and Game Fish.

The Division of Game and Game Fish was administered by the Supervisor of Game and Game Fish who was appointed by the Director. The Division of Game and Game Fish also had a five member Advisory Board who were elected by the State Association of Game Commissioners and Wardens, and who met annually with the Supervisor to formulate policies. The Division of Game and Game Fish, unlike the Division of Fisheries, received no money form the state general fund, but were self supporting, relying upon hunting and fishing licenses (WDFG, Division of Game and Game Fish, 1923). This organization remained until 1932.

Due to the lack of central control found in having both county game commissions and a state game and game fish department, and to further divorce the interests of sportsmen and conservationists from those of the commercial fisheries, the legislature created in 1932 the separate Department of Fisheries and Department of Game. The Department of Game was to be headed by a Director who was appointed by a State Game Commission consisting of six members from various parts of the State. Game Commissioners were to be appointed by the Governor. The old county game commissions were disbanded and many of their assets were obtained by the new Department of Game. Funding remained on a self supported basis through the use of license fees and fines collected from game violations. This form of operation has persisted to the present. It has worked well in that it has reflected the needs and desires of the sports-men and conservationists of the State.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We have a couple of good people here who work or have worked for the WDFW and it would be really nice if they could get that information for us. One would think that the WDFW would want us all to know the what those names of these 1,680 programs are. Why would we even want to try to ask a reporter to do that, when we have such knowledgeable people here who can do that task even better? clap:
 

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Actually, I thought 1680 was a low number when you combine hunting and fishing programs. Everthing from hunter education to WILD to Hatcheries to Biology, landowner partnership programs in each region, PLWMA's, AHE, EIW, Streamwatch, dangerous animal removal, probably a water quality program that WDFW has a finger in on every river in the state, etc etc.

Not defending them, just seemed to me there were probably several thousand separate programs going on. Ya gotta have alot to keep people from talking to each other and making sense of it all conf: wink:


I just typed in "program" on the WDFW Site search and got 2780 hits
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Actually, it works out to just about "one program" for every employee. WDFW has approximately 1,800 employees. That means that they have 120 more employees then they do programs. :eek:

Looks like there is room for at least 120 more new programs :lol:
 

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Program 1 - Gregoire needs to winterize her state yacht
Program 2 - Gregoire needs new tires on her limousine
Program 3 - Gregoire needs to add a new chef to her kitchen
....
Yes I am just being ignorant & stupid...but that is a good question.
 
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