2022-2026 ACTION AGENDA EXPLORER

STRATEGY 2

Working Lands

Reduce pressure for land conversion by supporting the long-term viability and sustainability of agricultural lands, including large and small parcel, hobby and working farms, and working forests through resilience and integrated management planning, improved incentives, and improved land use regulations.
Agricultural lands and working forests provide habitat that supports animals like deer, elk, birds, and salmon and can support water filtration and storage. Maintaining working lands in their current state is beneficial in preventing the degradation of habitat and downstream environmental conditions as well as beneficial for the natural resource economy, jobs, and production of local foods. While forestry and agricultural activity can have their impacts on the surrounding environment, the effect is often lower than after conversion to residential or commercial land uses.

By keeping working lands working, we can maintain vibrant agricultural and forestry industries, and we can reduce the pressure to convert those lands to more developed uses that can lead to greater pollution, expansion of urban heat islands, and loss of habitat.

This strategy aims to support the long-term viability of agricultural lands and working forests. It focuses on increasing agricultural resilience along with improving local jurisdictions’ adoption and implementation of plans, regulations, and policies that support healthy working lands. There is also an opportunity to expand the use of and support for incentives and technical assistance available for owners of agricultural lands and working forests.

Implementing the Land Development and Cover, Floodplains and Estuaries, and other, Implementation Strategies supports the success of this strategy.
DESIRED OUTCOMES
  • Protect ag and working lands from conversion
  • Reduce peak flows, increase low flows
Actions

Support the long-term viability and sustainability of agricultural lands and working forests to reduce pressure for conversion from the current use to a more developed use. (ID #4)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase and improve the creation and use of agricultural resilience planning for working lands;
  • Expand incentives and technical assistance for agricultural lands and owners of working forests;
  • Streamline and increase funds disbursement to support Best Management Practices (BMPs);
  • Improve regulations, policies, and plans that maintain a working lands base, particularly for those areas that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Support the expansion of market mechanisms to increase long-term viability and reduce conversion pressure for working lands. (ID #194)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Leverage carbon markets and carbon payment programs;
  • Expand transfer of development rights and easements;
  • Enhance tax benefits, particularly for those areas that have the potential to increase carbon sequestration.
Implementation Considerations

Human Wellbeing

     

Climate Change

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 to integrate human wellbeing considerations into efforts to protect working lands include:

 

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 to integrate climate change responses into efforts to protect working lands include:

  • Engage and better understand diverse community values around agricultural and working lands to develop multi-benefit programs.
  • Support value-added tourism opportunities on working lands as a way of generating revenue for agricultural, forestry, and shellfish businesses and enhancing the quality of life in the region.
  • Develop engagement strategies that educate and provide technical and financial assistance to support working lands and local food production.
  • Develop markets and incentives for safe and abundant local foods.
  • Integrate human wellbeing and health data with ecological data to inform decision-making around protecting agricultural lands and working forests.
 
  • Tailor specific climate change education for different producer audiences within agriculture, forestry, shellfish industries, and other communities of practice.
  • Incorporate climate projections and projected impacts into the planning and implementation of land use decisions and working lands protection and restoration.
  • Support accurate and effective carbon accounting for working lands and leverage carbon markets and other incentives, where appropriate.
  • Promote working lands BMPs that also sequester carbon and increase resilience.
Ongoing Programs

Ongoing programs provide regulatory oversight, technical support, implementation resources, funding, or guidance and serve as the critical foundation for Puget Sound recovery. The following is a list of example state and federal ongoing programs that help to implement this strategy. Many more local, tribal nations, and nongovernmental programs exist that support this strategy.

What We're Measuring

We are achieving our recovery goals of increasing functioning habitat and improving water quality in the Puget Sound region by preventing conversion of working lands to residential or commercial development (for example, improving the rate of loss), increasing water infiltration and holding capacity of upland areas, and advancing innovative techniques in natural resource industries that promote a healthy environment along with industry growth. Working lands are intact and thriving, and access and enrollment to protection mechanisms are increasing. Indicators of success include:

Conversion of private agricultural lands and forest lands to development, sound-wide
Percentage of working lands enrolled in protection programs

This candidate progress indicator assesses how well we are protecting working lands and preventing their conversion to development. This indicator is under development.

Conversion of private agricultural lands and forest lands to development, sound-wide
By:

No reported data available

This is a candidate progress indicator to assess the sufficiency and coverage of working lands conservation and preservation resources (easements, incentives, etc) in the Puget Sound region. This indicator is under development.

Percentage of working lands enrolled in protection programs
By:

No reported data available