July 6, 2010
King County gets $3.6 million in grants to improve water quality, protect habitat
King County water quality will be improved and vital fish and wildlife habitat protected, thanks to more than $3.6 million in new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant funding.
“This funding helps us fulfill our commitment to environmental stewardship while expanding our partnerships across the Puget Sound region,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By partnering with the EPA and other agencies, we are getting more accomplished for fewer taxpayer dollars.”
The Water and Land Resources Division of King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks has received $3,647,252 in EPA funds under the Puget Sound Watershed Management Assistance Program, in support of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda to protect and restore the sound.
The Puget Sound Partnership was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2007 to lead efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound. King County has integrated its long-standing environmental work plans to support the state agency’s action agenda.
The projects that have received funding through the EPA grant are:
Preserving Puget Sound shoreline through Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) – $1 million
The TDR program allows private land owners in rural and resource areas of King County to sell their development rights to developers for more compact developments for additional density in areas where expensive infrastructure such as utilities, highways and transit already exist.
King and Pierce counties will leverage EPA funds by partnering with cities to:
- Protect, through near-term development right acquisition, highly threatened, intact and ecologically important near-shore and upland properties in the Green and Puyallup-White river watersheds;
- Encourage partnership agreements with four cities to accept development rights from these properties, and
- Link regional TDR with low impact development incentive funding for cities.
Green/Duwamish watershed stormwater retrofit plan - $999,981
Rebuilding storm drains in cities and towns to slow and treat rain water before it runs into streams and the nearshore is highlighted in the Partnership’s 2020 Action Agenda for restoring Puget Sound.
The new EPA funding will be used on a project that employs a combination of data, watershed models and tools, plus stakeholder input, to evaluate the costs and effectiveness of various stormwater management scenarios for much of the Green/Duwamish River watershed and portions of the Central Puget Sound watershed.
Status and trends monitoring of aquatic and riparian habitats in the Cedar/Sammamish Watershed - $995,716
The EPA funding will be used to conduct physical, biological and hydrologic monitoring over four years in 50 stream reaches in the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed. The monitoring will help:
- Characterize watershed conditions and the impacts of planning decisions;
- Clarify relationships between development, land and water management, and biological and physical processes in streams; and
- Direct adaptive management actions.
The project will extend Washington Department of Ecology and EPA monitoring in Puget Sound to the watershed scale, and outcomes will include recommendations for improved land-use and salmon recovery actions in the watershed.
Improving streamside habitat in the Snoqualmie headwaters - $651,555
Invasive knotweed has spread across the Snoqualmie watershed, and threatens water quality by rapidly and thoroughly displacing native vegetation along streams. Resulting losses in shade, erosion control and buffering potential of riparian corridors hurts water quality.
This project addresses fundamental processes that are degrading water and habitat quality in the Snoqualmie River system by removing invasive knotweed and planting native vegetation in its place. Staff will lay the groundwork for improved long–term community stewardship, while developing a framework for use in similar landscape-scale projects elsewhere in the region.
King County Water and Land Resources