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Document Code No.: PUT 8-18 (AEO)
Department/Issuing Agency: Executive Office
Effective Date: March 15, 2002
Approved: /s/ Ron Sims
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 265 KB)

An Executive Order directing the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, in coordination with other executive departments, to implement the Comprehensive Plan policies regarding forestry through specific programs and actions.

WHEREAS, King County has an interest in conserving forests for their hydrologic benefits, including: the absorption of surface water that would otherwise cause flooding or require expensive drainage systems; the replenishment of ground water resources; and the provision of cool water to streams and rivers that support healthy fish populations, including salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act; and,

WHEREAS, King County has an interest in conserving forests and forestry for air quality benefits, including: the removal of pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter; the sequestration and storage of carbon dioxide, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions; and the moderation of temperatures in urban areas resulting in increased comfort and energy savings; and,

WHEREAS, King County has an interest in retaining forests and forestry to provide: habitat for fish and wildlife; recreational opportunities for a wide variety of users and diverse recreational industries; and beautiful vistas, peaceful settings, and attractive neighborhoods; and,

WHEREAS, King County ranks seventh among counties of Washington in revenue generated from timber harvest, with an approximate value of $50 million per year, and King County has an interest in retaining a sustainable local source of wood products and non-timber forest products and a diverse economy, including the retention of jobs in forestry and wood products; and,

WHEREAS, forest fertilization with biosolids is a cost-effective and beneficial method of converting waste to resource; and,

WHEREAS, the area of forest cover in King County has decreased by 33 percent in the last 30 years; and,

WHEREAS, the King County Comprehensive Plan includes policies to conserve forestland and promote forestry; and,

WHEREAS, the King County Council adopted the report entitled "Farm and Forest: a Strategy for Preserving the Working Landscapes of Rural King County," and recommendations contained therein through Motion 10000; and,

WHEREAS, the King County Rural Forest Commission continues to evaluate the County's forestry programs and has reviewed and supported the actions contained in this order.

NOW, THEREFORE, I Ron Sims, King County Executive do hereby order and direct the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, in coordination with other executive departments, to conserve King County's forested landscape so that it continues to provide environmental, social and economic benefits, by implementing the following programs and actions:

1. Direct resources and incentive programs to encourage and support private ownership of forestland. Use transfer of development rights and conservation easements to keep private landowners in forestry. Monitor and manage easements as a Forestland Conservation Program similar to the Farmland Preservation Program.

2. Retain the existing Forest Production District (FPD) in forestry by promoting forestry use in the forest zone. Adopt a public rule to set standards for forest management plans required to obtain a residential building permit in the FPD. Use incentives to discourage the fragmentation of ownership and land in the FPD. Acquire development rights, where appropriate and feasible, on land threatened by conversion to residential use in the FPD.

3. Encourage forest stewardship by owners of smaller acreage and/or residential forestland. Provide technical assistance to landowners. Offer forest stewardship classes throughout rural King County. Market current use taxation programs. Facilitate the sharing of information and services among forest landowners. Support efforts of forest landowners to develop forestry cooperatives.

4. Acquire development rights or acquire land, if necessary to conserve key parcels, with priority for properties that meet the following criteria:

a) properties where the private landowner will continue to manage forestland under a stewardship plan;

b) properties that, if retained in forestry, will facilitate management on adjacent properties;

c) properties that will create linkages with other large forested parcels, reducing fragmentation; and

d) properties where active forest management is appropriate. Unless public use is a major objective for the purchase of a property,

5. Clarify at the time of acquisition of a conservation easement or a property for forest management the intention to manage the property as working forest. Ensure that funding sources and deed restrictions allow such use. Ensure that conservation easement language is appropriate to allow continued forest management. Where appropriate, consider the possibility of entrusting the land to Washington Department of Natural Resources (WADNR) to be managed for King County, especially if WADNR manages adjacent properties.

6. Manage County-owned working forests (those identified as working forest resource lands) to sustain and enhance environmental benefits, demonstrate progressive forest management and research, and, where appropriate, provide revenue for the maintenance, management, and further conservation of forestland. Develop guidelines for the management of all County-owned working forests, balancing timber production, conservation and restoration of resources, and public use. For each individual site, develop a stewardship plan that addresses specific characteristics and uses, and identifies infrastructure needs, within the context of the overall guidelines. Encourage involvement of adjacent forest landowners and create plans that address issues across ownership boundaries. Encourage the University of Washington, and other academic institutions, to use County-owned forestland for research projects. Adapt management to respond to evolving forestry research. Where appropriate, use revenue from County-owned forestland for maintenance, management, restoration, and forest stand improvements on County-owned forestland, for acquisition of development rights on forestland, and/or for forestry program activities. Use King County managed forestlands for forestry education and outreach. Develop demonstration sites and interpretive signs. Coordinate volunteers to assist with implementing forest management projects on County lands. Continue to evaluate the benefits of a forest certification program, and in the long run, consider seeking green certification for County-owned forestland.

7. Promote a viable forest industry in King County. Encourage both large industrial forest companies and smaller non-industrial private forest landowners to practice forestry. Determine if there are additional actions the County can take to reduce conflicts with adjacent uses. Investigate the potential of promoting local forest products to consumers. Evaluate County regulations to determine where they may interfere with the ability of a landowner to practice sustainable forestry and propose changes if appropriate.

8. Cooperate with industrial forest landowners, non-industrial private forest landowners, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, United States Forest Service, tribes, cities, conservation groups and recreational users in developing creative ways to conserve the forest landscape. Work cooperatively with other agencies and conservation groups to secure funding to conserve forestland. Leverage funding opportunities. Work across ownership boundaries with agencies and large landowners on landscape-level forest management plans. Support the ability of Washington Department of Natural Resources to practice forestry and encourage them to retain their land base in the Rural Area. Encourage land trades that keep rural lands in forestry.

9. Finance the retention of forestland through links with programs that benefit from forest functions. Apply biosolids on appropriate King County forestland. Develop agreements with private landowners for application of biosolids on appropriate private forestland. Use revenue from the biosolids trust to enhance the biosolids forestry program and acquire additional forestland for biosolids application. Apply a portion of collected Surface Water Management fees to programs that promote retention or conservation of forestland because of the role forests play in surface water management. Assess the feasibility of a local carbon sequestration program, which would compensate landowners for the carbon storage in their forests. Conduct a study of the effect of biosolids application on carbon sequestration..

10. Promote public understanding about the importance of conserving forestland. Cooperating with the Forest Outreach Network, educate the general public both urban and rural about the values of forests and forestry.

11. Promote the conservation of urban and community forests as part of conserving the larger forested landscape. Where appropriate, promote the stewardship of urban and community forests by citizens. Provide technical assistance and grants to community groups working on forest retention, restoration, and tree planting projects. Present the Forest Outreach Network slideshow to groups engaged in urban and community forestry. Coordinate with federal, state and city community forestry programs to optimize efficiency of funding. Evaluate tree cover and forest management needs on King County urban parks. Increase tree cover in these parks where appropriate.

12. Establish King County as a national model and a leading recipient of funding for forestland conservation. Provide information at the Federal and State level about the values of forest conservation and the need for programs and funding. Continue to advocate for the allocation of Forest Legacy funds in King County. Seek Federal funding for urban and community forestry.

DATED this 15 th day of March, 2002.

/s/ Ron Sims, King County Executive


/s/ Robert Roegner, Manager
Records, Elections and Licensing Services Division