January 7, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Natural Resources Program Coordinator
Jefferson County Public Health
JEFFERSON COUNTY INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR OPEN SPACE PROJECTS
Port Townsend, WA – Jefferson County welcomes applications to protect important open space lands through the county’s Conservation Futures Program.
Open space lands provide important functions including:
- Protecting wildlife habitat and corridors,
- Conserving cultural resources,
- Maintaining natural floodplain processes,
- Protecting water quality, water supply and soils,
- Enhancing or protecting scenic views,
- Providing opportunities for education and passive recreation, and
- Perpetuating the benefits of balanced and productive natural systems.
Jefferson County government, other municipal corporations within Jefferson County, special purpose districts, citizen groups and citizens may make application for funds in this allocation process for municipalities, special purpose districts and private corporations within the county to acquire and protect open space lands.
In the 2021 funding cycle, approximately $230,000 is available to new projects. Of this amount, up to approximately $40,779 is available to reimburse operations and maintenance expenses for any property acquired with the Conservation Futures Fund. A minimum matching amount of 50% of the total project cost is required of the project sponsor. Sources of match must be non-county funds such as private contributions, state and/or federal grants, and/or the value of other open space lands linked to the project.
The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 26, 2021. For an application and more information, contact Tami Pokorny at (360) 379-4498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, eight applications were received by the Board of County Commissioners who approved the use of the Conservation Futures Fund towards the completion of four of them. The projects, which spoke for all of the available funds in the 2020 application cycle, include the acquisition of conservation easements on 28 acres of forest land including a tributary to Tarboo Creek, eighty acres of agricultural and forested land along Jakeway Creek north of Quilcene, and sixty acres of scenic agricultural property in the Beaver Valley south of Chimacum. The fourth project will acquire 14.5 acres of mostly forested wetlands along upper Tarboo Creek, just west of Center Road.
The annual project application process is directed by the Conservation Futures Citizen Oversight Committee. Each Spring, this committee evaluates project applications for their public benefit and makes recommendations to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners who, after a public hearing, decide which projects merit funding. Meetings of the Committee are open to the public.
The Conservation Futures Fund and Program are governed by Section 3.08 of the Jefferson County Code. The Program was created in 2002 to help ensure that the county retains adequate wildlife habitat, working farms and forests, scenic areas, and culturally and historically significant open space lands here – all for the health, benefit and welfare of citizens. Funds are made available through the County’s smallest property tax levy.
Presentations about the program and past projects are available throughout the year by request to the Environmental Public Health Department. Visit the Conservation Futures Program and Committee web pages at www.co.jefferson.wa.us/commissioners/Conservation/conservation.asp.
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