Riparian Buffer Bill

Riparian Buffer Bill

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. Last year, Governor Jay Inslee’s riparian buffer bill, that REQUIRED farmers to set aside productive land, buffers, to protect fish habitat, didn’t go anywhere.

Representative Joel Kretz tells Capitol Report, his House Bill 1720 creates a VOLUNTARY riparian management program …

KRETZ … “It’s a completely different way of doing business in Olympia. We’ve got bipartisan participation. We’ve got two sides that agree on 80-90% of the issue. The tribes are looking to protect fish habitat. And that means clean water, protect and improve riparian areas. These are things that farmers and ranchers want to do too. We all want to see that.”

Kretz says, it could be a new way of doing things …

KRETZ … “The problem is, the old model, when they come in and say, you will do this or else, just hasn’t worked. It doesn’t motivate me to cooperate. It’s been a failure. The regulatory regime does not resonate with agriculture and timber.”

It’s not perfect, Kretz says, but it’s better …

KRETZ … “The tribes have kind of given some ground and so has the agricultural community. They’re trying to build relationships and I think they’ve got a lot more in common than maybe people would think, definitely more in common than bureaucrats sitting in Olympia making these decisions, which has been the old way.”

Kretz says, who knows? …

KRETZ … “You know, I think this could be kind of a historic way of doing business. You sit down and talk about, well what do you want to see and how can we do it?”

Kretz says protecting private property rights and restoring riparian habitat for the benefit of salmon do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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