Capital Budget Passes, Providing Important Conservation Funding

By Tom Bugert, State Legislative Director

The Washington state Legislature came together Thursday night and passed a capital budget, funding $4 billion in construction that will bring sorely needed infrastructure and jobs to communities all across Washington.

Early morning scene of ponderosa pines at edge of Mad River Canyon along ridgeline above Pine Flats Campground.  White headed woodpeckers have been seen foraging here.  Photo © John Marshall.

The capital budget also includes more than $350 million for conservation projects and priorities, a testament to the high value the Legislature places on these programs, which provide multiple benefits in Washington.

Alongside the capital budget, the Legislature passed a compromise addressing the issues that were raised by legislators in response to the Hirst decision. The Seattle Times has a good write-up on this.

Aerial view of the Skagit River Delta. Photo © Marlin Greene / One Earth Images.

We were glad to see lawmakers across the political spectrum show their support for reducing the risk of wildfires and catastrophic floods, restoring floodplains, protecting wildlife habitat, improving recreational opportunities and restoring ecosystems and economic livelihoods in every corner of our state.

First run of chum salmon in Ellsworth Creek.Photo © David Ryan / The Nature Conservancy.

In addition to funding thousands of construction jobs, public-school grants and mental-health and housing services, the capital budget includes millions of dollars for projects to help people and nature thrive together. Capital projects will treat wastewater and stormwater, help Washington accelerate its transition to clean energy, protect communities from flooding and provide recreation access to more Washingtonians. 

The budget also included millions of dollars to implement the Department of Natural Resources's innovative forest health plan, which aims to treat 1 million acres of Eastern Washington forests by 2033.

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