How will CCA funds be invested in Natural Resources?

April 17, 2023

As Washington state works to build a cleaner, greener economy, Mother Nature is not only an interested stakeholder, but also a powerful ally. Healthy forests and abundant fish contribute to our economic prosperity and our quality of life. Investments in wildfire prevention and reforestation pay off in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and in carbon sequestration. 

As the legislative session nears its finish, the Washington State House and Senate are negotiating final budgets that will invest revenues from Climate Commitment Act (CCA) emissions allowance auctions. In previous editions we looked at proposed budgets for Transportation, Clean Energy, and Buildings. Today our focus is on budgeted investments in Natural Resources.

When the dust settles in Olympia, CCA revenues will likely fund the largest investment in salmon restoration in state history, aligning with the state’s salmon recovery strategy, updated in 2021 by Governor Jay Inslee. Per the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, 

“The new strategy highlights creating climate resiliency, increasing habitat protection and restoration, cleaning up polluted water, removing barriers to fish migration, addressing salmon predators and food supply shortages, and strengthening coordination, monitoring, and accountability across state agencies and programs. To implement this work, state agencies developed a biennial work plan outlining budget and policy priorities that align with regional recovery plans and known tribal priorities.”

House and Senate biennial budget proposals outline over $110,000,000 in salmon recovery and fish barrier removal investments. These investments will pay dividends to the fishing and recreation industries, and to Tribes and coastal communities. 

For greater detail on Natural Resources, click this chart to see highlights from the House and Senate budget proposals:

One natural resources investment we think is especially smart is funding to unlock matching federal funds to implement projects under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

CREP is a collaboration between state and federal governments, as well as Tribal organizations and private entities, to boost conservation in specific regions. Here in Washington, CREP pays farmers for planting riparian buffers between agricultural land and salmon streams, keeping water clean and cool for salmon.

Other notable investments include funding for increased forest health treatments statewide, with priority for local government and private landowners to reduce forest fuel loading in areas deemed high hazard for wildfire risk, as well as funding for education and training related to employment in the forestry and natural resources sector. This includes the Department of Natural Resources’ incarcerated wildland firefighting crew post-release program, the Washington State University Extension training curriculum, and wildland fire management and forest health training in partnership with tribes.

We’re excited about the progress made possible by the investment of CCA revenues in projects across our state, and look forward to sharing a recap with you when the Legislature completes its budget negotiations.

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
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