Proposed outdoor budget fully funds Taneum Creek project —

Proposed outdoor budget fully funds Taneum Creek project

Ellensburg Daily Record

Gov. Jay Inslee’s recently announced proposed 2015-17 budget would fund the Taneum Creek Riparian project to the max, according to a press release from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

On Thursday Inslee announced funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program at $70 million, less than the requested $97 million. The $70 million would fund 80 projects across the state. The proposed amount is greater than Inslee’s final funding of $65 million in the last biennium.

The Taneum Creek Riparian project is the only Kittitas County project that would receive the full requested funding amount — $1.7 million — in the governor’s proposed funding scenario. The Legilature will craft its own version of the budget.

The 370-acre project area contains about a mile of the Taneum Creek and more than 2 miles of tributary streams. Taneum Creek is a critical habitat for the federally listed mid-Columbia steelhead and is a focus stream for coho salmon reintroduction in the Yakima Basin. The project would address two habitat threats to the stream system — rural development and ongoing intensive forest management. Future restoration would be completed on part of the site to increase habitat complexity for salmon.

Other projects

The Heart of the Cascades would receive $785,500 of the $4 million requested. The proposed $4 million would have acquired around 4,000 acres. The money would be used to acquire forest and aquatic habitat on the east slope of the Cascades. The goal of the project is to conserve a critical habitat. The location is approximately 20 miles southwest of Ellensburg between the LT Murray Wildlife Area to the east and the National Forest to the west.

The L.T. Murray Wildlife Area was seeking $375,000 to implement a restoration thinning and habitat improvement project to enhance forest and floodplain condition, but would not receive close to that level of funding under the proposed budget.

“Under the Governor’s budget, the L.T. Murray project would only receive about $7,000 of the $375,000 requested, which could mean the project just wouldn’t happen because that level of funding is not significant enough to make a difference on a project of that scale,” said Frances Chiem, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition spokesperson, in an email.

The Upper Naneum Creek Farm won’t receive any funding for a farming preservation project, under the plan.

Read the complete story at Ellensburg Daily Record
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