Snohomish Basin Forest Ecosystem Services Pilot Project

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Pilot effort to create an ecosystem services transaction in the Snohomish River Basin, with a pilot area in the upper Woods Creek Watershed.

  • DNR appears involved at some level, although it appears Snohomish County Surface Water Management is the technical and political lead.
  • The project was a topic at a UW Autumn 2012 NW Environmental Forum which raised the following issues:
    • The county used Hydrologic Simulation Program Fortran model to predict change in hydrology based on different forest retention models.
    • The county used Puget Sound Characterization Project results and a Zhang and Barten Conservtion Priority Index to prioritize locations for protecting hydrology.
    • Forterra is involved in outreach.
    • A Transaction would occur within the county. The mechanisms are not clear, but may include conservation easements, harvest agreements, lease agreements, transfer of development rights, or using surface water fees.
    • County staff suggest that quantifying benefit at the parcel scale is difficult and models are imprecise.
    • Ultimately this effort may play into a restructuring of Snohomish County SWM fee structures.
    • Total SWM fees are approximately $18M/year