Olympia—The state legislature passed the final capital budget today, funding the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) at $70 million for the 2009-2010 biennium. This funds 95 projects all over the state. The WWRP is a state grant program that funds parks, trails, wildlife habitat and farmland preservation projects.
All funded projects are listed on the state legislature website.
“In the current economic climate, $70 million for the WWRP is a success. The grant program helps many, many towns, cities and people in the state. We’ll see immediate and long-term benefits for wildlife, families and the local economy as a result of this decision,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Coalition.
WWRP projects are funded in by bonds capital budget and do not compete with programs funded in the operating budget such as classroom size and social services. Capital projects are investments that are paid for over decades, and many assist in boosting local economies. Many WWRP projects are development projects that would create jobs. Others are acquisitions and conservation easements that will put dollars in the pockets of local landowners, helping to stimulate the local economy.
The Coalition requested a renewal of $100 million for the WWRP in the current legislative session. Although the WWRP takes a 30% cut this year, there will be widespread benefits around the state at the $70 million level, deeming the allocation a noteworthy accomplishment in conservation.
Including the $70 million in this biennium, the WWRP has granted $620 million leveraged an additional to fund over 1,000 projects since 1989. In 2007, the legislature approved $100 million for the WWRP. This funded 135 projects all over the state.
Past news coverage including editorials supporting renewing the WWRP at $100 can be found on the Coalition’s website. http://www.wildliferecreation.org/news-events/news