PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners approved a combined total of $324,000 in funding for four projects under the Conservation Futures fund.
The commissioners approved the funding after a public hearing Tuesday morning, which had four residents provide testimony in support of the recommendations.
The Conservation Futures program was designed to address the “general and increasing need to provide a system of public open spaces … for the health, welfare, benefit and safety of the residents of Jefferson County,” and to maintain “Jefferson County as a desirable place to live, visit and locate businesses,” according to commission documents.
Five projects applied for funding for the 2021 cycle and three of them were recommended by the Conservation Futures Citizen Oversight Committee to be fully funded, one recommended to be partially funded and one to not be funded this cycle. Commissioners agreed with the committee’s recommendations.
The request for $89,500 by the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group was approved and fully funded to go toward acquiring 75.1 acres of land between two separate parcels to protect the floodplain that is part of the efforts to restore the Big Quilcene River in the Moon Valley Reach, commission documents said.
The request for $140,000 by the Northwest Watershed Institute was approved and fully funded. The project aims to acquire a parcel of 80.6 acres to protect the second largest tributary to Tarboo-Dabob Bay located partially in the boundaries of the Dabob Bay Natural Area, commission documents said.
The request for $25,000 by the Jefferson Land Trust was approved and fully funded to go toward acquiring a conservation easement on a 115.8 acre property that is residential and agricultural land four miles south of Chimacum along the east fork of Chimacum Creek, commission documents said.
The request for $100,000 by the Jefferson Land Trust was approved for partial funding of $69,500. The funding will support a 4.95 acre addition to the Quimper Wildlife Corridor and contribute the existing 3.5-mile-long natural wetland, drainage and wildlife habitat corridor, commission documents said.
The request $100,000 by the Jefferson Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement of 67 acres in northeast Quilcene along Jakeway Creek was denied.
The reduced funding to the Quimper Wildlife Corridor and the denial of the fifth request was due to the limited Conservation Funds available, as the total amount of funds available this cycle was $324,000 and the total requested amount of funds was $454,5000, said Joanne Pontrello, committee chair during Tuesday’s meeting.
“I have great faith in this process and such appreciation for the work that the committee does,” said Kate Dean, commission chair. “I’m happy to support the recommendations of the committee.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]