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RCW 77.85.005

Findings—Intent.

The legislature finds that repeated attempts to improve salmonid fish runs throughout the state of Washington have failed to avert listings of salmon and steelhead runs as threatened or endangered under the federal endangered species act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.). These listings threaten the sport, commercial, and tribal fishing industries as well as the economic well-being and vitality of vast areas of the state. It is the intent of the legislature to begin activities required for the recovery of salmon stocks as soon as possible, although the legislature understands that successful recovery efforts may not be realized for many years because of the life cycle of salmon and the complex array of natural and human-caused problems they face.
The legislature finds that it is in the interest of the citizens of the state of Washington for the state to retain primary responsibility for managing the natural resources of the state, rather than abdicate those responsibilities to the federal government, and that the state may best accomplish this objective by integrating local and regional recovery activities into a statewide strategy that can make the most effective use of provisions of federal laws allowing for a state lead in salmon recovery, delivered through implementation activities consistent with regional and watershed recovery plans. The legislature also finds that a statewide salmon recovery strategy must be developed and implemented through an active public involvement process in order to ensure public participation in, and support for, salmon recovery. The legislature also finds that there is a substantial link between the provisions of the federal endangered species act and the federal clean water act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.). The legislature further finds that habitat restoration is a vital component of salmon recovery efforts. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to specifically address salmon habitat restoration in a coordinated manner and to develop a structure that allows for the coordinated delivery of federal, state, and local assistance to communities for habitat projects that will assist in the recovery and enhancement of salmon stocks. A strong watershed-based locally implemented plan is essential for local, regional, and statewide salmon recovery.
The legislature also finds that credible scientific review and oversight is essential for any salmon recovery effort to be successful.
The legislature further finds that it is important to monitor the overall health of the salmon resource to determine if recovery efforts are providing expected returns. It is important to monitor salmon habitat projects and salmon recovery activities to determine their effectiveness in order to secure federal acceptance of the state's approach to salmon recovery. Adaptive management cannot exist without monitoring. For these reasons, the legislature believes that a coordinated and integrated monitoring system should be developed and implemented.
The legislature therefore finds that a coordinated framework for responding to the salmon crisis is needed immediately. To that end, the governor's salmon recovery office should be created to provide overall coordination of the state's response; an independent science panel is needed to provide scientific review and oversight; a coordinated state funding process should be established through a salmon recovery funding board; the appropriate local or tribal government should provide local leadership in identifying and sequencing habitat projects to be funded by state agencies; habitat projects should be implemented without delay; and a strong locally based effort to restore salmon habitat should be established by providing a framework to allow citizen volunteers to work effectively.
NOTES:
FindingIntent2009 c 345: See notes following RCW 77.85.030.
Severability1999 sp.s. c 13: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1999 sp.s. c 13 § 24.]
Effective date1999 sp.s. c 13: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect July 1, 1999." [ 1999 sp.s. c 13 § 25.]
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