Motion outlines funding priority for recreation corridors and habitat restoration efforts near existing preservation projects
StoryAt the February 23 meeting of the Metropolitan King County Council, the Council gave its unanimous approval of a motion to support Conservation Futures projects along the Sammamish River in north King County.
“King County’s residents have made significant investments to preserve open space along the Sammamish River over the past 25 years,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, sponsor of the legislation. “I believe it is important that as properties become available for purchase, we leverage those early investments and increase public access to our few remaining urban natural areas.”
“The Sammamish River, near Bothell in particular, is a nexus for some of our most popular regional trials, and King County wants to send the message that these are important community resources that deserve strong consideration for funding and preservation,” added Dembowski.
The adopted motion calls for the panel that approves the allocation of the Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) Levy Fund to give priority consideration to projects along the Sammamish River that focus on preserving recreation access or restoring habitat adjacent to, or near existing property that has previously been protected from development.
Additionally the legislation would also give priority consideration to parcels that provide view corridors or improved access to key regional trails, including the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, the Tolt Pipeline Trail, and the Eastside Rail Corridor.
Councilmember Dembowski drafted the motion after learning that several large parcels adjacent to earlier CFT purchases along the Sammamish River may soon be offered for sale.
The Conservation Futures Fund is supported by a countywide property tax, which by state law can only be used to purchase open space or resource lands. Counties and cities are usually the primary applicants for these funds, but citizen groups and individual citizens also receive CFT funding through partnerships with local jurisdictions.
A Citizen Oversight Committee makes recommendations on parcels for purchase through a competitive application process.