Watershed Planing in Kitsap County

Puget Sound Partnership has released its new Action Agenda for the restoration of Puget Sound. Puget Sound Action Agenda 

Included in this plan is a detailed action strategy for the west sound region covering Kitsap County and Hood Canal. The The Action Agenda in North Central/ West Puget Sound starts at page 450.

The net result of this plan is to expand the restrictions currently being applied to the county shorelines to all the watersheds of the county. It does this by establishing new Priority Conservation areas and establishing the concept of “no net loss of ecological function” for development in these areas.

“Many people move to the West Sound Action Area because of its rural feel, and the majority of residents choose to live outside the incorporated cities. This can result in conversion from existing rural forestland to an urban/suburban landscape, resulting in fragmented or degraded habitat. The population is expected to grow by 43% in the next 20 years, adding another 100,000 people. The increased population will require additional sewage or septic systems, and drinking water. Since the West Sound has no snow-fed water supplies, key aquifer recharge areas will need to be protected. An urbanizing landscape will also increase stormwater runoff which threatens water quality, patterns of streamflow, and the availability of groundwater for human use. Stormwater has also been noted as a vector for pathogens which have closed shellfish harvesting in some West Sound bays.”

“The West Sound Action Area is currently working to establish a Local Implementing Organization (LIO) that will leverage on-going efforts, improve communication and prioritize local actions. A representative planning group met in 2011 to work on identifying the local threats, strategies, and actions listed below and determine how to move implementation forward in the area.”

Key Threats/Pressures

For the 2011 Action Agenda update, the West Sound has identified 12 local priority issues to address pressures on the West Sound ecosystem. The local priority issues are listed below, categorized by the four pressure reduction targets.

Land Development

  • Loss of Forest Cover, Riparian Habitat and intact freshwater ecosystems
  • Population Growth, New Development and Redevelopment
  • Transportation Network (shoreline roads, infrastructure needs, etc.)

Shoreline Alteration

  • Protection of Existing High Quality, Highly Functioning Shoreline

Stormwater

  • Surface Water Loading and Runoff from the Built Environment / Alteration of the hydrologic regime (increased flow/flooding)Impairment/enhancement of Groundwater Infiltration and Recharge
  • Impairment/enhancement of Groundwater Infiltration and Recharge

Wastewater
Identification and repair of Failing Septic Systems
Discharge from Vessels

Other

  • Address gaps in Fisheries Management
  • Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
  • Loss and degradation of freshwater habitats
  • Shellfish Protection and Restoration (loss of approved commercial growing area certification; loss of safe areas for shellfish harvest)

Local Implementation Structure

A planning group assembled in March 2011, including representation from the cities of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island; Kitsap and Pierce Counties; the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes; public utility districts; land trusts; WSU Extension; Kitsap Health District and the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council. The Port Districts and the City of Gig Harbor were invited but unable to attend. The group met four times in 2011 and agreed to form a caucus based organization represented through four key areas: government and regulatory; restoration and protection; public health, education and outreach; and the private sector and commerce. The LIO is expected to be established and operating in 2012. In the absence of an LIO, smaller workgroups and the West Sound Watersheds Council have been engaged to help identify local strategies and actions.

Selected Strategies and Actions

  • Establish performance goals to ensure land cover changes create no net loss of important forested and freshwater ecosystem functions
  • Support GMA to increase focus on accommodating population in urban areas to avoid loss of rural lands and important habitat.
  • Encourage infill development in urban areas as an alternative to expanding UGAs
  • Ensure transportation planning and development is aligned with ecosystem protection to avoid new development in priority conservation areas.
  • Identify priority areas where otherwise functioning drift cells and their associated processes – erosion, sediment contribution, transport and deposition – are compromised by armoring, and encourage armoring removal and erosion control alternatives that better protect and restore nearshore ecosystem processes.
  • Remove regulatory loopholes and provide incentives for removing armoring
  • Identify drift cell processes – erosion, sediment contribution, transport and deposition – compromised by armoring.

Puget Sound Partnership Salmon Recovery Plan

The Recovery Plan is organized with a Regional Chapter (Volume I) and Fourteen Watershed-Specific Chapters and a Nearshore Chapter (Volume II). The Plan includes strategies and actions associated with marine and freshwater habitat protection and restoration, hatchery management, and harvest management. Chapter 5 East Kitsap

Hood Canal Integrated Watershed Plan

The Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) and its partners are working with the broader community to create a strategic action plan that will set priorities to ensure a future in which the Hood Canal remains a special place. The Hood Canal Integrated Watershed Plan (IWP) is an organizational concept for integrating existing plans and programs, as well as identified gaps, through a strategic planning framework in order to meet the Plan goals. The ultimate purpose of the IWP is to provide a set of prioritized actions and strategies to be implemented by and for the Hood Canal community.

Gorst  Watershed Planing

The City of Bremerton and Kitsap County, in partnership with other state, federal, and tribal agencies, has developed a 20-year plan for the future of Gorst. The purpose of this cooperative planning effort has been to develop a land use plan that is based on the ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed.

Minter Creek Watershed 

The Washington State Department of Commerce, with funding from the National Estuary Program, is partnering with Kitsap and Pierce Counties to address regional planning for the Minter Creek watershed basin. The purpose of this effort is to look at land use within the watershed basin, and provide recommendations for upcoming Comprehensive Plan updates. This is part of the counties’ efforts to implement the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda to restore Puget Sound.

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