WSR 10-01-015



[ December 2, 2009 ]



WHEREAS, the fiscal crisis currently facing Washington State requires its government to improve how it does business, to innovate, to increase efficiency and effectiveness, to provide excellent service to its citizens and to better meet its fiduciary responsibilities to the people of the state.

WHEREAS, Washington's natural resources are irreplaceable and of immense environmental, economic and cultural value. Washington State is recognized as a national leader in the protection and restoration of our natural resources, with economically and environmentally significant working lands, fish and wildlife populations and a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

WHEREAS, the state's natural resource agencies were created over the last century to protect the environment and responsibly manage Washington's natural resources. These agencies have evolved to fulfill both their original missions, as well as additional responsibilities assigned to them by legislative mandate. This development over time has resulted in a complex, multi-agency system with over-lapping jurisdictions, duplicative activities and unclear processes.

WHEREAS, the scope and depth of the current economic difficulties represent an opportunity for reform, one that calls for improved agency operations, new thinking as to how agencies work internally and with each other, reform of organizational structures and improved processes for our citizens, with greater responsiveness, transparency and inclusion.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christine O. Gregoire, Governor of the state of Washington by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the state of Washington, do hereby order and direct as follows:

1. Coordinating More Effective and Efficient Organizations

(a) In order to better coordinate efforts of state natural resource agencies, the Natural Resources Cabinet (Cabinet) is hereby formally created. The Cabinet shall include: Department of Agriculture, Department of Ecology, Recreation and Conservation Office, Puget Sound Partnership, Utilities and Transportation Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Health, and senior staff from the Office of the Governor and the Office of Financial Management. The independent natural resource agencies are requested to participate as members of this Cabinet. The non-cabinet agencies include: Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Parks and Recreation Commission, and State Conservation Commission. The Cabinet may invite the participation of other agencies and governments to assist the Cabinet, as needed.
(b) The Cabinet shall work collaboratively with tribal, federal and local governments.
(c) The Cabinet is responsible for overall coordination of natural resource and environmental protection programs and policies, specifically: preventing and resolving disputes among agencies, avoiding and resolving conflicting processes and policies, and coordinating significant multi-agency projects or issues.

2. Improving Services to Citizens

(a) Citizen Access - Washington residents deserve innovative, effective customer service from their state agencies. The Cabinet shall develop easy-to-use and transparent processes for the public to locate state agency services without the need for detailed knowledge of the organization of state agencies. This effort will be referred to as "One Front Door" and shall include:
i. A consistent and readily available point of entry for citizens seeking information or technical assistance from natural resource agencies.
ii. Information and assistance provided in an understandable, responsive, timely, and consistent manner.
iii. A commitment by state agencies to get customers and other members of the public to the right place as soon as possible, as simply as possible.
iv. Each agency shall, by January 10, 2010, appoint an executive level representative to serve as a member of the One Front Door technical team. The team shall identify ways to improve customer service with special emphasis on multi-agency efforts to ensure that, whichever natural resources agency they contact, members of the public will receive timely, responsive service.
(b) Permitting - To make environmental permit decisions more timely, predictable and efficient, the Cabinet shall expand the use of Multi-Agency Permitting (MAP) teams. The Cabinet shall also evaluate combining permit regulations of multiple agencies and local governments and issuing consolidated environmental permits through a single entity within a specified geographic area. The goal is to provide citizens with a simpler way to receive coordinated, timely, and consistent environmental permits from state agencies.
(c) Outdoor Recreation - To increase awareness, sustainable use of our natural resources, and the economic benefits of Washington's outdoor recreational opportunities, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Parks and Recreation Commission shall work within the Cabinet to enhance tourism and recreational uses of the state's natural resources. The agencies will develop an integrated program for marketing wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, boating activities, and the use of Parks and Department of Fish and Wildlife lands both nationally and internationally.

3. Consolidating Regional Boundaries

(a) To improve customer service delivery, reduce long-term agency costs, and better coordinate work among state natural resource agencies, the Cabinet shall, by July 1, 2010, adopt common regional boundaries considering information such as salmon recovery regions, eco-regions, and county boundaries. The goal is to provide citizens easier access to the state's natural resource agencies while improving cross-agency coordination of program delivery.
(b) Once common boundaries are adopted, the Cabinet shall:
i. Identify eco-system based management opportunities to include measurable goals, barriers and priorities.
ii. Evaluate and develop implementation plans for consolidating regional offices, including identifying potential costs, savings and performance impacts resulting from regional consolidation.
4. Sharing Resources and Services - Key goals of natural resources reform are to improve customer service, increase efficiencies, and advance the state's commitment to protect and restore natural resources and the environment. To accomplish this, state government will work better and smarter, and our partners and the public will find it easier to work with us and receive the services they need, through these and other resource-sharing actions:

(a) To make efficient use of limited agency resources and reduce duplication of environmental monitoring efforts, the Cabinet shall streamline, coordinate and consolidate field work and environmental sampling done by state agency personnel. To further increase efficiencies and avoid duplicative activities, the Cabinet shall:
i. Collaborate with tribal, federal and local governments to achieve maximum efficiency and coordination of field work and environmental sampling across different levels of government.
ii. Develop a shared web-based calendar and/or portal to allow the sharing of data and information amongst state and other natural resource agencies.
(b) To improve the public's understanding of and access to the state's natural resources grant and loan programs, the Cabinet shall identify and recommend common application processes, standardized forms, streamlined and consistent procedures and protocols, and other improvements designated to simplify the grant and loan process. The goal is to provide citizens and other governments direct and easy access to the broad array of grant and loan programs available for natural resources protection and management.
(c) To streamline and reduce duplication, the Cabinet shall identify cost-effective opportunities for developing a single point of access for common geographic information system (GIS) data. Each agency, by January 10, 2010, shall appoint a GIS representative to work with others in developing a coordinated multi-agency approach to coordinate with other state agencies, tribal, federal and local governments on cost-effective strategies for managing state natural GIS resource mapping data and services.
5. Accountability and Performance

(a) The Natural Resources Cabinet shall report annually to the Governor, beginning September 30, 2010, regarding its progress in implementing this Executive Order and providing its recommendations for improvement as called for above.
(b) In addition, a Natural Resources Policy Area is established in the Governor's Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP) portfolio. The Natural Resources Cabinet shall establish shared performance outcomes consistent with this executive order; and agency members of the Natural Resources Cabinet shall establish, monitor, and report at least quarterly on data-driven performance measures to achieve the outcomes set forth by the Natural Resources Cabinet. The Director of the Governor's Accountability and Performance team will oversee Natural Resources performance reporting and will provide the Governor with regular reports.
Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington on this 2nd day of December 2009 at Olympia, Washington.
Christine O. Gregoire


Sam Reed
Secretary of State

Washington State Code Reviser's Office