It’s no secret that state game and fish agencies across the nation are hurting right now.

Dwindling revenue and budget cuts are forcing many states to fundamentally rethink how they do business. Many states’ game and fish agencies are overseen by commissions, but the state of Washington is considering doing away with that format altogether.

From this story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review:
_The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is on the chopping block in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Tuesday proposal announced to consolidate state agencies and eliminate boards and commissions to save nearly $30 million. Among other mergers, a new Department of Conservation and Recreation would be formed by combining the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Recreation and Conservation Office and the law enforcement unit of the Department of Natural Resources. Traditionally, fish and wildlife management policy has been set by the commission, a panel of nine members appointed by the governor. The commission has had the power to hire and fire the Fish and Wildlife Department director.
_Under the new system, the Conservation and Recreation director would be part of the Governor’s staff.

“It’s hard on my ego to say I don’t’ think we need smart guys like me to write policy,” said George Orr, Fish and Wildlife commissioner from Spokane. “But the governor’s trying to make ends meet in tough times. For now, it probably makes sense.” Fish and Wildlife commissioners are volunteers. The commission budget is nearly $150,000 a year, he said.

Financially, that might make sense, but do you think that consolidation of a hunting and fishing-based agency into a larger agency with a much broader mission weakens the voice and political clout of sportsmen? Any concerns about that? Anything similar happening in your state?_