Land Development and Cover
During the past 50 years, Puget Sound lost at least two-thirds of its remaining old growth forest, more than 90% of its native prairies, and 80 % of its marshes.
Indicator Lead: Kenneth B. Pierce Jr., Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Alex Mitchell, Puget Sound Partnership, and Kari Stiles, Puget Sound Institute.
This webpage is currently being updated. For the most recent findings for this Vital Sign, please consult the report in the latest State of the Sound
Data last updated on July 8th 2015
Photo Credit: Puget Sound Partnership

Importance to Puget Sound recovery

In the Puget Sound region, we have lost at least two-thirds of our remaining old growth forests, more than 90% of our native prairies, and 80% of our marshes in the past 150 years.

The land surrounding Puget Sound is home to 4 million people who live, work, and play in our region. The need for homes, businesses, roads, and agriculture must be balanced with ecosystem protection. Forest and riparian areas provide important habitat for many species and reduce the rate of polluted runoff flowing into Puget Sound.

Land development and cover indicators measure how well we are directing our region’s ongoing growth to protect our best remaining natural areas and working forests.

What you can do

  • Support conservation easements
  • Adhere to municipal growth and land development ordinances
  • Consider low impact development techniques on your own property
  • When possible use pervious surfaces
  • Support restoration projects by volunteering, or consider donating
  • Consider participating in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a voluntary program that pays landowners to establish buffers of native trees and shrubs along fish bearing streams and rivers

What our partners are doing

View Near Term Actions helping to advance this Vital Sign

Links for more information

Technical memorandum on setting targets for Land Cover and Land Development

Coastal Change Analysis Program

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Land Cover Change Analysis - High-Resolution