2017 Land and resources
About this Indicator
This indicator summarizes the status of conditions that address the conservation of land and other natural resources in King County. The land and resources included in this indicator are generally ones that King County's Department of Natural Resources and Parks seeks to improve through its program and service delivery. While DNRP can track certain aspects of agriculture and forestry protection and productivity, we have the ability to only periodically track levels of forest cover and imperviousness and have no regular or comprehensive way to track and understand changes in terrestrial/land-based biota (plants and animals).
Agriculture and forestry productivity and protection levels in King County are generally stable and near their targeted levels. Currently there are about 41,000 acres of zoned farmland in the county, some of which is not farmable due to wetlands, steep slopes and other conditions. The development rights and subsequent Deed and Agreements on about 15,000 acres have been purchased through the Farmland Preservation Program and the Transfer of Development Rights Program through 2016.
Forest protection levels remain at or near targets, with about 32% of the rural acres covered by stewardship plans or enrolled in incentive programs.
A wide range of State and Federal policies, economic conditions, and the decisions of individual property owners affect the land and resources conservation practices here. Markets for agricultural and timber products, priorities of landowners, conservation incentives of the Farm Bill, and consumer preferences all bear on landowner decisions that affect conservation.
Budget allocations, regulatory and policy changes all play a role in King County's land conservation and acquisition activities. For example, the ability of the Farmland Preservation Program to purchase development rights depends on the available funding, and farmland values vary widely depending on the location of the farm in the county.
DNRP has been advancing a range of innovative programs to encourage and support the conservation of land and resources in King County. These include:
- Puget Sound Fresh;
- Transfer of Development Rights program;
- Current Use Taxation incentive programs;
- Local Action on Biodiversity;
- The Farmland Preservation Program; and
- Various Forest Conservation programs
What you can do:
Landowners interested in improving conservation practices have a range of useful resources to draw upon. Important actions may include:
- Develop a conservation and/or biodiversity protection plan
- Investigate resource protection incentive programs
- Transfer development rights
As a consumer in King County, you can help maintain the viability of local agriculture by purchasing from local farmers, visit Puget Sound Fresh.
More information about King County's Land and Resources indicators is available by continuing to these indicators: