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Jun 12

Legislature approves much needed support for our work

Posted on June 12, 2018 at 11:37 AM by Allan Warren

Bill Signing

There is very good news out of Olympia about locally-led conservation.  On April 24, Governor Inslee signed in to law Senate Bill 5322 making it possible for Pierce, King, Snohomish and Spokane Conservation Districts to raise the cap on our local funding limits for the first time in 25-years. Over this time, the demands for our services and the complexity of the natural resource problems we are responsible for addressing have increased dramatically. 

Pierce Conservation District’s current system of rates and charges raises approximately $1.3 million annually to address everything from urban water pollution to farm plans. In addition to all of our project work, we work tirelessly to leverage these funds 1:1 with private philanthropic dollars, state and federal grants, and earned revenue, which all serves as the core funding for the District’s critical projects. 

As many of you know, the need for our work is ever growing.  Requests for farm plans on cost-share projects to address pollution problems are on nearly a year and a half wait list.  We are losing vital native habitat more quickly than we can recover it.  Our rivers, creeks, and streams remain on polluted status because the resources are not available to work collaboratively to improve them.  The demand for more local, healthy food continues to climb.  The interest and demand for our work and the solutions we bring could not be higher, but our ability to scale-up and deliver more services has been hamstrung.  The signing of this bill into law will allow us to finally meet this demand.

In the coming months and years, the District will work with our many stakeholders including private landowners, community members, local elected officials, tribal governments, and others to ensure the new resources are targeted in the most strategic and impactful way so that we can continue to make improvements in protecting and conserving the natural resources of Pierce County.  For now we thank the many legislators who led a bi-partisan effort to make this new funding available for our critical work and we look forward to improving our natural resources on an even greater scale.

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