Puget Sound National Estuary Program land development and cover base program analysis

A 2020 Base Program Analysis from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute presents an overview of the programs, policies and initiatives that support the Puget Sound Partnership’s Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy.

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Executive Summary

Overview:

This Base Program Analysis (BPA) is intended to provide supporting information to the Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy by summarizing and analyzing a variety of cost-share programs at the federal, state, and local government levels, as well as technical assistance programs and established and emerging market-based programs (such ecosystem services payments or carbon sequestration) that support the Implementation Strategy. This report is one of several appendices to the Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy Narrative.

The Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy (IS) has been under development since 2016. The Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Puget Sound Partnership worked together to lead development of the Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy along with volunteers to serve on a Land Development and Cover Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) that met several times to guide strategy development.

The Land Development and Cover IS development process is currently led by the Habitat Strategic Initiative Team, composed of representatives from the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) with input from the Washington Department of Commerce (Commerce), Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Washington EPA, and various cities, counties, conservation districts, private citizens, and tribal organizations. The Puget Sound Partnership and Puget Sound Institute provide technical support to the Habitat Strategic Initiative.

The Land Cover and Development Vital Sign “measures the conversion of land from forests, farms, and natural areas into land for homes, businesses, and roads.”[1] The Vital Sign has four indicators that report status and trends region-wide: Rate of Forest Cover Loss to Development, Riparian Restoration, Conversion of Ecologically Important Lands, and Growth in Urban Growth Areas.

The Interdisciplinary Team developed three strategies/actions to meet the Land Development and Cover Vital Sign indicator targets. They are available in the implementation strategy supporting documentation and modeled using results chains. The three strategies are to protect and restore ecologically important lands, to reduce barriers to infill and redevelopment in Urban Growth Areas and support working agricultural and forest lands.

This Base Program Analysis starts with an introduction of the Puget Sound National Estuary Program recovery planning. Next is an overview of the regulatory approaches to the Implementation Strategy including the Growth Management Act, land use planning in and out of Urban Growth Areas, comprehensive long-range and multi-county planning processes and analysis, and Critical Area planning and protection. The remaining sections and sub-sections present the landscape of financial, technical and market-based programs available that can assist in the protection of ecologically important lands, reduce barriers to infill and development in Urban Growth Areas, and support working agricultural and forest lands.

These programs are divided at the organization level (federal/state/local government or similarly-funded technical and financial assistance programs like those offered by the US Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources) and programs that are voluntary-type landowner programs, market-based incentive programs or miscellaneous policy/planning programs and initiatives. The programs are analyzed based on input from experts and review of pertinent literature. Program recommendations are provided if applicable or offered by literature and/or experts. 

A navigation table is provided following the overview section of the document for easier access to specific programs, initiatives and polices. The document includes a table that describes near term actions (NTAs), funded and unfunded, that relate to the Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy as well as a summary of the current status of the transfer of development rights programs in Puget Sound.

Citation:

Wright, C.W. (2020). Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy Base Program Analysis. Tacoma, WA. University of Washington Puget Sound Institute.

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