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Protecting King County’s most valuable remaining farms, forests, habitats and other green spaces from development

Summary

To protect the region’s most valuable remaining open spaces from development, Executive Constantine is bringing together experts from the public and private sectors to create a long-term conservation strategy.

Story

King County Executive Dow King_County_open_spaceConstantine is bringing together a wide range of experts to create a long-term strategy for protecting the most valuable remaining farms, forests, habitats and other green spaces from development in one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions.

“It was the determination to protect our region’s last, best open spaces that originally drew me to public life,” said Executive Constantine. “We’ve saved unprotected forest land, working farms and popular trail corridors throughout the region. With the help of talented experts representing the public and private sectors, we will set a course to finish the job.”

King County has made significant progress over the past three decades conserving open spaces, preserving more than 200,000 acres of working forests and protecting about 15,000 acres of farmland.

But surveys of current development patterns show important gaps in conservation of these valuable lands. For example, less than one-third of land in Agricultural Production Districts is protected from development, and wooded acreage along shorelines and river corridors remains subject to development in many areas of the county.

A land conservation and preservation work plan that Executive Constantine sent to the King County Council in March includes proposals for how the county could help preserve natural lands, farms, forests, river corridors and regional trails corridors.

One of the proposals is to convene an advisory group, which will begin meeting in September to help review and refine conservation strategies. The advisory group will be co-chaired by former King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and Tukwila City Councilmember De’Sean Quinn.

The advisory group members will include representatives from regional businesses – including REI, Microsoft and the Boeing Co. – along with the King County Agriculture and Rural Forest Commissions, past and current members of city councils and the King County Council. It will also include representatives from philanthropic organizations, the local real estate industry, and nonprofit organizations, including Forterra and The Nature Conservancy.

The advisory group’s first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. SE, Preston. The panel’s final report is expected to be delivered to Executive Constantine by the end of the year.

RELEVANT LINKS

• King County's land conservation work plan
• Executive's land conservation advisory group

QUOTES

It was the determination to protect our region’s last, best open spaces that originally drew me to public life. We’ve saved unprotected forest land, working farms and popular trail corridors throughout the region. With the help of talented experts representing the public and private sectors, we will set a course to finish the job.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive


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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250