County hires consultant to review conservation programs 


The Board of County Commissioners approved on Tuesday, June 4, a $350,155 service contract with Environmental Science Associates to review the county’s conservation programs. 

The board also authorized the director of the community planning department to execute any amendments to the contract if the updated contract value is not higher than 10% from the initial amount. 

Associate Planner Dana Bowers said as part of the contract, the consultant will investigate measures to improve the efficacy of the county’s current conservation programs. 

These programs include the Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights, Conservation Futures, and Open Space Tax. 

The Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights program allows farmland owners to sell their development rights so other developers can increase the building density of their own developments.  

Property owners may also sell their land to conservation groups through the Conservation Futures program, while the Open Space Tax program grants property owners with reduction to their property taxes if owners agree to keep their land in a rural, undeveloped state. 

According to the contract, Environmental Science Associates will develop a document that proposes changes to these programs. Part of the consultant’s work includes developing a ranked list of conservation needs, identifying funding sources for necessary conservation solutions, and creating an implementation strategy. 

The county received a total of two bids for the work after it issued a request for proposals in February. The county’s community planning department awarded the contract to Environmental Science Associates as the firm’s proposed budget and scope of work better aligned with the county’s needs. 

The contract is funded through a grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. 


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