Senate Buffer Bill

Senate Buffer Bill

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson. There is still a chance for creating buffers around rivers and streams to protect salmon without putting farms out of business … or at least that is the hope.

Senator Keith Wagoner’s legislation would extend the successful Voluntary Stewardship Program to every county in the state.

WAGONER … “It works with farmers, conservation districts and landowners, to voluntarily improve the watershed and the way that they treat the water. So, it’s good for salmon, it’s good for farmers, it’s a good model overall.”

The Sedro Woolley Republican’s bill cleared a key Senate committee and could be headed to the Senate floor.

While Wagoner, ag groups, and tribes are happy about that, they’re disappointed that a more comprehensive riparian-buffer bill that many had supported died in the House.

WAGONER … “It’s a shame because it really put everybody in the same room, it had bipartisan support, both sides of the aisle, it had tribal support, it had landowner support, conservation support, people with habitat interests supported it.”

The bipartisan buffer bill failed to advance out of the House Capital Budget Committee, and the surprising result is being attributed primarily to opposition from Governor Jay


Referring to the unexpected demise of HB 1720, Wagoner says, it was a Cinderella story of legislation right up until the slipper didn’t fit.

SB 5353 now heads to the Rules Committee, the last stop before a potential vote by the full Senate.

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