WHEREAS, the state of Washington is one of the most biologically diverse states in the country. The state contains most of the major ecosystem types found in the western United States, including two found nowhere else in the world: the Olympic rainforest and channeled scablands; and

WHEREAS, Washington's natural environment sustains the state's rich web of life, including those vital natural resource industries that produce food, fiber, fuel, building materials and medicines. Washington's forests support a timber industry that employs thousands of people; its lands produce a rich and abundant agricultural economy that is a breadbasket of the nation; its fresh and marine waters support commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish industries; and the state's biodiversity heritage draws outdoor recreationalists and tourists, who help support our local economies; and

WHEREAS, Washington is in danger of losing much of its rich natural diversity due to habitat fragmentation, degradation and conversion that threatens the state's ecosystems. Threats to species and critical ecosystems have resulted in repeated endangered species listings, which disrupt communities and long-term resource management; and

WHEREAS, in response to 2002 Legislature, the Washington Biodiversity Conservation Committee was formed, consisting of diverse representation from the private and public sector and tribal governments to recommend ways to manage and protect our state's biodiversity. The Committee issued its Washington Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Report on October 1, 2003; and

NOW THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, Governor of the state of Washington, direct and request that a State Biodiversity Council be established. The Council shall:

  1. Consist of 23 members appointed by the Governor representing the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Ecology, the Puget Sound Action Team, the Department of Natural Resources, State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Department of Transportation; two members each from local government and federal agencies; three tribal representatives; and representatives from private industry, agriculture, forestry, ranching, academia and non-governmental conservation organizations, and four at-large representatives.

    The members of the Council shall appoint a chair from among its members and may adopt operating procedures. The Council may reimburse travel and meeting expenses to non-governmental members, at the discretion of the Council. The Council shall expire December 31, 2007. The Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation shall administer all contracts and expenses for the Council.

  2. By December 31, 2007, perform the following tasks:
  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the State of Washington to be Affixed at Olympia this 1st day of March A.D., Two thousand four.


Governor of Washington

Secretary of State