The Daily Chronicle writes about a proposed WWRP project, South Sound Prairies, that is likely to receive funding in this year’s budget. The project will protect endangered species as well as open up land for hiking, hunting, and horseback riding.
Prospects for a $3 million request by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for grant funding to help it purchase the Alpacas of America farm southwest of Tenino appear strong as the state legislature continues this week to negotiate a reconciled capital budget for the 2019-2021 biennium.
The House version of the budget allocated $80 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, while the Senate proposed $90 million in its draft document. Christine Mahler, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a nonprofit which spearheaded the creation of the WWRP in 1989, said she expected the final appropriation to fall somewhere between those two dollar amounts.
Citing analysis by the state Recreation and Conservation Office, Mahler said that based on where the South Sound Prairies project ranked on the list of proposed Critical Habitat Projects submitted to the WWRP, it would receive about $2.6 million in funding if the state legislature went with the House proposal. Meeting in the middle at $85 million would result in full funding of the request.
“That’s one of those projects that’s right on the cusp,” Mahler said. “They have it broken down with an allocation formula and what money goes into what categories. We’d be delighted if we could talk (the legislature) into even a little bit more than the $90 million to see a good handful of additional programs get more or complete funding, but there’s obviously a lot of pressure there right now, so we’re talking with legislators to make sure they realize the importance of the program.”
Read the full story in the Chronicle.