S-1712.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 6114



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Regala, Jacobsen, Swecker, Fraser, McDonald, Oke and Kline


Read first time 02/22/2001.  Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Supporting voluntary watershed and natural resource organizations.

    AN ACT Relating to supporting voluntary watershed and natural resource organizations; adding a new section to chapter 90.54 RCW; creating new sections; and making an appropriation.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that each watershed in Washington is unique and requires its own management activities and techniques to protect and enhance the quality and stability of the watershed for the benefit of communities and residents.  Such activities and techniques are most effective and efficient when they fully integrate and utilize the collaborative efforts of interested citizens and businesses, nonprofit organizations, tribes, local, state, and federal agencies, and state colleges and universities.  Voluntary nonprofit organizations whose mission is the protection, enhancement, and restoration of the state's watersheds and natural resources perform an important public service, not only through the projects they implement, but by helping to educate citizens about the significance of these activities and providing a way for citizens to become involved.  The skills, community support, volunteer labor, and donations of goods and services that they generate substantially advance protection, enhancement, and restoration of watersheds and natural resources.  Among a large number of other worthy organizations, over two hundred coordinated resource management groups in the state have improved management of natural resources in their local areas through collaborative efforts, in some cases for twenty years.  With continuing population growth and pressure on resources, the need for such programs is growing and exceeding the ability of such organizations to meet the need without a source of administrative support.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 90.54 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) It is the policy of the state of Washington to encourage and help sustain voluntary nonprofit organizations formed for the purpose of protecting, enhancing, and restoring the biological, chemical, and physical processes of watersheds, and to direct state agencies and state colleges and universities to coordinate their respective activities relating to these purposes with other state entities and affected local, regional, tribal, federal government, and private nonprofit organizations and to cooperate with and foster such activities to the greatest degree practicable.

    (2) Private nonprofit organizations incorporated under Title 24 RCW for the purpose of protecting, enhancing, and restoring the biological, chemical, and physical processes of watersheds, in cooperation with interested citizens and businesses, other nonprofit organizations, tribes, and local, state, and federal entities, may apply to the department for administrative support grants of up to fifty thousand dollars to maintain the organizational structure and functions necessary to fulfill their purpose.  Administrative support grants may be used to compensate full or part-time staff, such as a director, project manager, or volunteer coordinator, and for obtaining grants and matching funds and in-kind donations and services, for recruiting volunteers, for providing technical and safety training, safety equipment, and insurance, and for maintaining required records and issuing required reports, and the like.  Administrative support grants may be renewed annually.  In addition to any other relevant requirements established by the department, applications for administrative support grants shall include a work plan for expenditure of the grant funds, a description of the planned activities for which the grant funds will provide administrative support, performance measures, and documentation of community involvement.  Preference will be given to organizations that have completed projects successfully, have projects pending, and have established cooperative relationships with citizens, businesses, nonprofit organizations, tribes, local, state, and federal agencies, and state colleges and universities, as appropriate for the nature and scope of their activities.  The department shall provide administrative support grants from and to the extent of appropriations made by the legislature to the department expressly for this purpose.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  The sum of two million dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the general fund to the department of ecology for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002, to carry out the purposes of this act.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  If specific funding for the purposes of this act, referencing this act by bill or chapter number, is not provided by June 30, 2001, in the omnibus appropriations act, this act is null and void.


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