County to award nearly $25 million for open space conservation
Nearly $25 million in bond funding to preserve open space, farm and agricultural land, and timber land throughout Snohomish County is expected to be approved this fall by the Snohomish County Council.
The county's Conservation Futures Advisory Board made their final recommendations Aug. 23 on applications to receive conservation funding. Now, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick will pass those funding recommendations to the County Council for final review and approval.
"Our agricultural history and beautiful open spaces are what make this county unique and memorable," Executive Lovick said. "It's important that we preserve this space for our children and grandchildren."
After the county announced a call for conservation funding applications in May, the board received 30 applications requesting a total of $34 million for property acquisition. The county will distribute $24.9 million made available through a recent bond sale. Properties under consideration countywide ranged in size from .03 acres to 326 acres and included several high-profile purchases, including the following:
* 98 additional acres at Japanese Gulch (Everett/Mukilteo)
* Eastside Rail Corridor to extend the Centennial Trail from Snohomish to King County line
* A conservation easement preserving agricultural uses on the Anderson Farm, near Arlington
* Seabrook property in the city of Lynnwood
* Ovenell-Port Susan property in the city of Stanwood
"This is a unique opportunity to conserve vulnerable habitat and open areas in our county," said County Council Chair Stephanie Wright. "Protecting the 13-acre Seabrook property and adding to park land at Lake Stickney and at the Edmonds waterfront are important steps toward preserving green spaces in our urban neighborhoods."
"I am excited about these projects that protect farmland and open space and create new recreational opportunities for our citizens," said County Council Vice Chair Dave Somers. Acquiring the Eastside rail corridor will expand our trail system while protecting future transit and tourist use of the rails."
The county's Conservation Futures Program began in 1988 as a way to distribute Conservation Futures Property Tax Funds authorized by state law. The county uses funds to acquire real property interests or rights in order to preserve open space, farm and agricultural land, and timber land. The county can levy up to six and one-quarter cents per thousand dollars on taxable property in the County to acquire open space.
The list of properties recommended by the Board to receive funding is attached below. To learn more about Conservation Futures funding, please contact Geoffrey Thomas at 425-388-6507 or by email at Geoffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:Geoffrey.email@example.com>. For more information about the program, visit http://www.snoco.org<http://www.snoco.org>, search "Conservation Futures" or call 425-388-6622.