Presenter/Author Information

Allison E. Osterberg, Thurston CountyFollow

Type of Presentation

Snapshot

Session Title

Local Stories and Results

Description

Addressing the cumulative impacts of land use and development patterns is one of the most intractable challenges to preserving the ecological integrity of the Salish Sea. Thurston County is a largely rural county located at the southern end of Puget Sound, and is considered one of the fastest growing areas of Washington state. As the region continues to grow, local governments need to ensure that development is directed away from sensitive areas. But how do we define which areas are the most sensitive, and how can that information be translated into site-specific changes to zoning and development codes? Thurston County has partnered with Thurston Regional Planning Council on a series of watershed planning projects that investigate ways to accommodate projected growth while protecting water resources by considering alternative future scenarios. The current focus of these planning efforts is the watershed draining to the Deschutes River, which is listed under the Clean Water Act for violating standards for dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, temperature, pH, and fine sediment, and is the subject of a recently completed TMDL cleanup plan. The studies have led to proposed changes to development regulations and urban growth area boundaries, and have brought attention to the need for restoration. This presentation will discuss lessons learned from these projects, including strategies for incorporating landscape assessments into the local planning and policy realm, the strengths and limitations of different modeling tools, and working with stakeholders and elected officials.

Comments

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Lessons Learned from Watershed Planning in Thurston County

2016SSEC

Addressing the cumulative impacts of land use and development patterns is one of the most intractable challenges to preserving the ecological integrity of the Salish Sea. Thurston County is a largely rural county located at the southern end of Puget Sound, and is considered one of the fastest growing areas of Washington state. As the region continues to grow, local governments need to ensure that development is directed away from sensitive areas. But how do we define which areas are the most sensitive, and how can that information be translated into site-specific changes to zoning and development codes? Thurston County has partnered with Thurston Regional Planning Council on a series of watershed planning projects that investigate ways to accommodate projected growth while protecting water resources by considering alternative future scenarios. The current focus of these planning efforts is the watershed draining to the Deschutes River, which is listed under the Clean Water Act for violating standards for dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, temperature, pH, and fine sediment, and is the subject of a recently completed TMDL cleanup plan. The studies have led to proposed changes to development regulations and urban growth area boundaries, and have brought attention to the need for restoration. This presentation will discuss lessons learned from these projects, including strategies for incorporating landscape assessments into the local planning and policy realm, the strengths and limitations of different modeling tools, and working with stakeholders and elected officials.