Land Development and Cover
During the past 150 years, Puget Sound lost at least two-thirds of its remaining old growth forest, more than 90 percent of its native prairies, and 80 percent of its marshes.
Indicator Lead: Kenneth B. Pierce Jr., Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Jeanette Dorner and Alex Mitchell, Puget Sound Partnership
Data last updated on April 20, 2016
Photo Credit: Puget Sound Partnership

Importance to Puget Sound recovery

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. There are four indicators for this Vital Sign: Forest Loss, Riparian Restoration, Growth in Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), and Conversion of Ecologically Important Lands.

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 High-Resolution Aerial Imagery Change Detection