Personalized License plates — Automotive Style for Species Conservation

Washington has more than 260 species of greatest conservation need (SGCN), many of which are listed as threatened or endangered. The current budget for conservation of Washington’s SGCN species is vastly insufficient to meet conservation and recovery goals. It is estimated that WDFW has five percent of the funding needed to adequately conserve the state’s biodiversity.

Personalized plate on “wildlife watching” eagle background

What do these license plates fund?

For more than 45 years, the sale of personalized license plates — the plates where citizens choose a special message on a standard or specialized background plate — has been a primary source of funding for the management of non-game wildlife, including peregrine falcons, pygmy rabbits, and killer whales.

Decreased revenue from personalized license plate sales is eroding the agency’s capacity to conserve biodiversity

In addition to asking for your support when making license plate choices, the Department has submitted a budget request to the 2021 legislature to secure ongoing funding from the state general fund to offset imminent cuts to our biodiversity conservation capacity. Without that appropriation, the Department will need to cut work in landscape level conservation and habit management coordination, data management that helps us understand species status, and conservation projects that benefit species of greatest conservation need from bats to birds of prey, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals.

I personalized my plate. What else can my license plate choices do?

Lots of background options!

Move the message beyond the plate . . .

Insufficient funds for supporting wildlife through personalized license plates means hard choices for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with bearing on the future of nature in the state. Without funding, there will be less habitat restoration, less species monitoring and research declines forced upon the agency as soon as next July.

A gap of continuity in care for nature could eventually lead to loss of habitat and continued trouble for Washington’s most vulnerable and beloved species.

While the agency is looking forward to potential good news from the legislature with regard to funding in the 2021 session, now is a great time to spread the word on what personalized plates mean for nature in Washington. If anyone you know has an interest in or love for fish and wildlife please ask them to represent that care in their license plate choices.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store