Puget Sound Partnership has established its final three “targets” for the ecological health of Puget Sound, setting up goals as restoration projects move forward.
In a 10-year period, nearly 4 percent of the Puget Sound’s forests were converted to other uses, according to the report. Now more than 7 percent of Puget Sound’s lowlands below an elevation of 1,000 feet are covered in roadways, rooftops and other impervious surfaces.
While population growth creates pressures, residential and commercial development are also indicators of a healthy economy, the report notes. The real concern comes in deciding where and how development will take place.
Land cover: Reduce losses of nonfederal forestland as a result of development to less than 1,000 acres each year, and restore or place into a restoration program at least 268 miles of streamside vegetation. (This target will be re-evaluated when land-cover data from 2006 to 2011 become available.)
Land development: Identify the most ecologically important areas and maintain vegetation loss in those areas to less than 0.15 percent per five years.
Urban growth: At least 86.5 percent of growth should be occurring in urban areas by 2020, which will require an increased urban ratio for all counties in the Puget Sound region.
By Christopher Dunagan, Kitsap Sun, read more here…