Prioritizing for Salmon Using Science

April 13, 2011

The recently passed House Budget includes a proviso requiring the Department of Fish and Wildlife to prioritize spending on hatcheries using science. Now, the Senate Democrats' budget, released last night, echoes that same sentiment.

The proviso, found on page 89 of the Senate bill, reads:

3) Prior to submitting its 2013-2015 biennial operating and capital budget request related to state fish hatcheries to the office of financial management, the department shall contract with the hatchery scientific review group (HSRG) to review this request. This review shall: (a) Determine if the proposed requests are consistent with HSRG recommendations; (b) prioritize the components of the requests based on their contributions to protecting wild salmonid stocks and meeting the recommendations of the HSRG; and (c) evaluate whether the proposed requests are being made in the most cost effective manner. The department shall provide a copy of the HSRG review to the office of financial management with their agency budget proposal.

This is an excellent approach that helps ensure we spend limited taxpayer resources on those projects that yield the best environmental results. For the past two years, we've offered the Environmental Priorities Act which would apply this model to all of the state's environmental expenditures.

Such an approach would avoid some of the waste on costly but ineffective environmental approaches we've seen in the past several years (for example see the waste on solar projects, requiring schools to buy "local" food, and money for promotional items for the Puget Sound Partnership) . A science-based approach would avoid environmental priorities that are more about politics than environmental stewardship.