Voluntary riparian buffer program becomes law.



Do you know that feeling you get when you have just completed a long and tedious project? Maybe it’s rewiring an appliance, helping your child delicately hang Styrofoam planets from string for a science project, or programming your television. You then tentatively step back to admire your work and declare, “I think I got it!” That was the feeling many had last week as the Governor signed the 2023-2024 Capital Budget into law. Included in the 472-page document is the funding and structure for a fully voluntary riparian grant program. With that program now in place, many at Washington Farm Bureau (WFB) celebrated the passage of an important and rather historic program. 

Over the past year and most notably throughout the 2023 legislative session, WFB has been working tirelessly with numerous legislators and stakeholders to craft a riparian buffer program that respects private property while championing salmon habitat recovery efforts. This issue saw multiple drafts of legislation, a budget proviso, hours of stakeholder negotiations, 11th-hour dramata on the Senate floor, and finally the Governor signing the program into law through the Capital Budget. We commend the Governor for his backing of this program, which was widely supported by agriculture, tribes, democrats, republicans, businesses, and conservation districts. 

WFB president, Rosella Mosby, who has been an integral negotiator on this issue, commented, 

“It is incredibly satisfying to witness the positive impact we can make when we come together, decide what success looks like, and work toward a common goal. My thanks go out to everyone who worked to see a solution to riparian buffers this session. The new voluntary riparian buffer program in the Capital Budget is a testament to the power of bipartisan cooperation and collaborative efforts by stakeholders.”

With funding allocated, private landowners interested in learning more about this opportunity can look forward to more information shortly. WFB will be working to inform our members as further news becomes available.

The level of cooperation and bipartisan support exemplified throughout this legislation’s process was truly a beacon of progress and one we look forward to building on in the months to come. 

This is one more example of WFB working and advocating on behalf of members and striving for a sustainable future for agriculture. If you would like more information about supporting the work of WFB and the value of membership with this organization, please visit our website at www.wsfb.com

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