Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Re-thinking Conservation Finance and Partnerships in Coastal Regions

Description

For more than 10 years, King County (Washington) has operated two market-based conservation programs: a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program and an In Lieu Fee (ILF) mitigation program. Each program has achieved significant success. The TDR program has permanently protected over 144,000 acres of forestland, farmland, and other rural property, and the ILF mitigation program has provided compensatory mitigation for over 20 permitted projects and used $17 million in mitigation fees to implement multiple restoration projects with ecological importance at a watershed-scale.

The TDR program achieves permanent protection of rural and resource lands through voluntary transfers of unrealized development potential from rural areas into urban areas where infrastructure and services can support more compact development. Landowners at rural “sending sites” grant a conservation easement to the County in exchange for either (a) issuance of TDRs which the landowner can sell to developers through private market transactions, or (b) direct payment for their TDRs, in which case King County obtains the TDRs and facilitates their transfer into urban areas.

The ILF mitigation program gives entities implementing development and infrastructure projects the option of paying a fee instead of providing their own compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources. Upon payment of mitigation fees, the obligation to deliver successful mitigation transfers fully and irrevocably from project proponents to King County. The County uses proceeds to plan, implement, and steward restoration projects in a watershed context, coordinating closely with regulatory agencies and tribal governments.

This presentation will provide an overview of each program model including the public-private connections inherent to each program, a review of demand drivers and policy frameworks necessary for success, a review of some pitfalls to avoid, and a discussion of how market-based regional conservation programs could channel growth pressures toward accelerated enhancement of the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Comments

TDR program website

ILF mitigation program website

I can adjust presentation as needed to focus on one program or the other, but telling the story of both could be nice - one program trades in development rights, the other in development obligations, yet both invoke private market forces to advance conservation. Lessons learned through running these programs could be of value to those hoping to develop similar programs throughout the Salish Sea Ecosystem.

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Successful Market-based Conservation in King County, WA

2016SSEC

For more than 10 years, King County (Washington) has operated two market-based conservation programs: a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program and an In Lieu Fee (ILF) mitigation program. Each program has achieved significant success. The TDR program has permanently protected over 144,000 acres of forestland, farmland, and other rural property, and the ILF mitigation program has provided compensatory mitigation for over 20 permitted projects and used $17 million in mitigation fees to implement multiple restoration projects with ecological importance at a watershed-scale.

The TDR program achieves permanent protection of rural and resource lands through voluntary transfers of unrealized development potential from rural areas into urban areas where infrastructure and services can support more compact development. Landowners at rural “sending sites” grant a conservation easement to the County in exchange for either (a) issuance of TDRs which the landowner can sell to developers through private market transactions, or (b) direct payment for their TDRs, in which case King County obtains the TDRs and facilitates their transfer into urban areas.

The ILF mitigation program gives entities implementing development and infrastructure projects the option of paying a fee instead of providing their own compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources. Upon payment of mitigation fees, the obligation to deliver successful mitigation transfers fully and irrevocably from project proponents to King County. The County uses proceeds to plan, implement, and steward restoration projects in a watershed context, coordinating closely with regulatory agencies and tribal governments.

This presentation will provide an overview of each program model including the public-private connections inherent to each program, a review of demand drivers and policy frameworks necessary for success, a review of some pitfalls to avoid, and a discussion of how market-based regional conservation programs could channel growth pressures toward accelerated enhancement of the Salish Sea ecosystem.