WACD Testimony on HB 1215 on Riparian Areas

WACD Executive Director Tom Salzer testified today on House Bill 1215: Concerning the protection and restoration of riparian areas.

WACD stated a position of OTHER on HB 1215 because we feel there are some weaknesses in the bill language that needs to be addressed. Nevertheless, WACD supports the intent of the bill to restore important riparian functions in the most critical places first.

The bill describes the steps the State will take but it is silent on how participating in the riparian restoration program envisioned in HB 1215 could benefit private landowners. We chose to not testify on this point as we anticipate having conversations with bill sponsors about our concerns.

One area we are very supportive of is the focus on the State Conservation Commission and conservation districts in advancing local, voluntary conservation actions.

WACD looks forward to participating in improving HB 1215 and fully supporting this legislation.

WACD testimony on HB 1215

Good morning, Chair Chapman, Vice Chair Morgan, and all members of the Committee. For the record, I am Tom Salzer, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts.

 

I would like to be testifying PRO but since we have a few concerns, we are testifying as OTHER on House Bill 1215.

 

We like the intent of the bill and applaud the focus on voluntary, incentive-based conservation actions. We also recognize the good work by the bill’s sponsors to move important riparian restoration work forward while we still have salmon to save.

 

The State Conservation Commission is absolutely the right choice to advance this work. The Commission’s interagency composition, combined with the trust-based relationships districts have with private landowners, provide the most likely way we can restore riparian areas while also addressing landowner needs and the needs of the State.

 

With a few adjustments, WACD can be in full support of HB 1215 and help advance the State’s major investment in restoring riparian areas.

 

Thank you. 

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