RIVERS AND HABITAT OPEN SPACE PROGRAM
The Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program acquires permanent forestland conservation easements between landowners and the State of Washington. Two categories of land are eligible for the program: unconfined channel migration zones and forest lands that contain a habitat that is critical for state threatened or endangered species. Channel migration zones, are essentially islands of timber within the channel of a river that is actively migrating. Habitat includes areas important for species such as the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. Since 2002, when funding first became available, 16 conservation easements have been purchased that protect 1,043 acres of important habitat.
Funding to purchase easements is available through the remainder of the 2013 to 2015 biennium. Applications will be prioritized for funding based on:
- The ecological value of the property to salmon and other species.
- Potential benefits to water quality.
- The biological characteristics of the property.
- Historic, biological or cultural significance.
- The viability of management actions applied to the property.
Properties will be funded in order of ranked priority until all funds have been expended. All remaining eligible applications will be offered the opportunity to be considered for future funding opportunities. Lands may be donated for a conservation easement at any time.
To qualify for a conservation easement under the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program, your property must:
- Be located on forest land containing critical habitat for state threatened or endangered species that have been designated as of particular concern by the Forest Practices Board.
- Be identified as either “designated forest land” (Chapter 84.33 RCW) or “current use forest land” (Chapter 84.34 RCW) on county assessor records.
- Allow DNR adequate legal access to the property to process the application and administer the easement terms and conditions.
- Be free of unacceptable liabilities such as hazardous substances or other site conditions that may jeopardize the preservation of fisheries enhancement or ecological protection of the project area.
In addition, all persons having a legal interest in the property must be willing to convey or subordinate their interest to the state for the conservation easement.
Category specific instructions and applications have been prepared for both the channel migration zone and critical habitat categories have their own set of instructions and application. Links to both the instructions and applications are provided to the right under “Files”.
All applications are due by 5:00PM on September 30, 2014. Applications received after that time will be eligible for future funding opportunities. Application packages must include:
- A description of the property that includes the location and an estimated acreage.
- A description of the method used to determine whether the land qualifies for the program.
- A map showing the approximate boundary of the qualifying land.
Completed packages should be returned to:
Washington Department of Natural Resources
Forest Practices Division
Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program
P.O. Box 47012
Olympia, WA 98504-7012
Questions and requests for additional information should be directed to Dan Pomerenk at (360) 902-1427 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.