Applications accepted for Jefferson County Conservation Futures projects

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County is accepting applications for funds to protect open space land through the county’s Conservation Futures Program.

The deadline to submit applications is March 30. For an application, contact Tami Pokorny at 360-379-4498 or tpokorny@co. jefferson.wa.us.

Landowners and citizen groups, as well as local government agencies, special purpose districts and nonprofit corporations within Jefferson County can apply for funds in partnership, as applicable, with a sponsoring organization based in Jefferson County.

Open space lands provide such functions as protecting wildlife habitat and corridors; conserving cultural resources; maintaining natural flood water control; protecting water quality, water supply and soils; enhancing or protecting scenic views; and providing opportunities for education and passive recreation.

In 2017, Jefferson County commissioners approved the use of conservation futures funds toward the completion of three projects. They were:

• A conservation easement on the 45-acre Serendipity Farm in the Little Quilcene River watershed.

• A conservation easement on the 53-acre Iglitzin Farm in the Tarboo Creek watershed.

• The protection of 2.5 acres of forested and riparian land along lower Snow Creek.

2018 funding cycle

In the 2018 funding cycle, approximately $275,000 is available for new projects, county officials said in a news release.

Of this amount, up to $35,947 is available to reimburse operations and maintenance expenses for any property acquired using conservation futures funds, they said.

A minimum matching amount of 50 percent 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 annual conservation futures project application process is overseen 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 Program was created in 2002 and is financed by a county property tax levy.

Presentations about the program and past projects are available throughout the year by request to the Environmental Health Department.

For more information, visit www.co.jefferson.wa.us.

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