Introduces legislation to enable protection of 7,000 acres
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn today introduced legislation that would keep 4,000 acres along the Raging River in unincorporated King County free from development, as part of a 7,000 acre acquisition by the State.
“The Raging River property is the largest remaining block of open space left in the Mountains to Sound Greenway,” Dunn said. “Regional leaders before us created the Greenway and left it to us to finish. I am so proud that I can play in role in this major acquisition.”
Dunn’s proposed ordinance would appropriate more than $2.7 million from the county’s Conservation Futures Fund to help buy a conservation easement on 4,000 acres of land. The land is part of a 7,000 acre property that is being purchased by the state Department of Natural Resources. King County’s contribution has the dual purpose of making the purchase financially feasible for the state while preserving 4,000 acres of open space in perpetuity.
The property contains the headwaters of the Raging River, one of the most important rivers for Chinook salmon recovery and one that has been a priority for King County and environmental groups for a very long time.
“Much of the Raging River is in my district and I care deeply about preserving this land for future generations,” Dunn said. “I love hiking and fishing and someday I want to take my son there and let him have those same experiences.”
Though the state DNR has not yet concluded an agreement, King County’s contribution helps to bring down its cost, and the conservation easement purchased by the County restricts development over most of the land and protects it forever.
“We must remain vigilant,” Dunn said. “The deal is not yet completed. It still must make its way through the King County Council and through the State’s process in a very short time. We must get it done though because this deal is too important.”
Due to tax implications involved in the negotiated agreement, the transaction must close by May 20, 2009. Dunn’s legislation proposes to reprioritize conservation futures projects and appropriate more than $2.7 million from the Conservation Futures Fund to the Raging River project. The funds would be added to $900,000 already set aside for the Raging River property for a total purchase of conservation easements of $3.6 million. Money in the Conservation Futures Fund by state law can only be used to purchase open space or resource lands. The King County Council will review this legislation over the next two weeks and must act by May 4, 2009.