Legislators are still considering some funding for certain VSP projects. Eligible cost-share funding in the Senate budget is $4 million for shellfish growing areas and $5 million for other parts of state. The House has $4 million for shellfish areas and $7 million available cost share in non-shellfish areas of state.
There is also no agreement yet on how to fix the crisis created by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. The court ruled that Whatcom County failed to comply with the Growth Management Act requirements to protect water resources. The ruling requires the county to make an independent decision about legal water availability before approving or denying building permits that use wells for a water source. Finding a legislative solution to the Hirst ruling may be included in negotiations on the Capital Budget.
The issue of funding for innovative dairy nutrient management technology demonstration projects is still being considered. Both House and Senate budgets generally reference one project in Eastern Washington and one in Western Washington. The Senate has $4 million for conservation commission for pilot/demonstration projects. The House has $2 million for pilots and an additional $2 million in “non-shellfish” cost share funding that is broadly available, potentially to help with cost share on innovative nutrient management demonstration projects and other projects such as VSP or general cost share for water quality projects.