Sustainable Futures

The Sustainable Futures approach involves local governments engaging the public to choose future land use zoning, based on how those land uses affect natural watershed processes and, therefore fish and their habitats. Citizens and planning staff develop and test alternate land use scenarios using tools to analyze the effects of each scenario on hydrology and habitat. Tests of the alternative scenarios use a number of related landscape measures and scientific models. The scenarios are designed based on principles of local land use planning and earth sciences. Citizens select the land use plan that integrates the objectives of both land use needs and actions that protect natural resources to produce a community-based vision of the future.

Read More About Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures for Puget Sound Stormwater

Sustainable Futures using Faster, Greener, Smarter Permitting


Decision-making in Puget Sound and Georgia Basin watersheds could be significantly improved if the best available scientific information on natural resources, water quality, shoreline alteration, habitat restoration, land use, and water availability can be brought together within a framework that is accessible to elected officials, planners, managers, business owners, landowners and the public. The development of next generation computational models, combined with new resource management objectives, allows the development of a demonstration project with an integrated view of the current state of the watersheds and resources, as well as the ability to look at future scenarios of climate change, increased development, and economic opportunity.


Integrated Scientific Tools
A framework of computational models, data platforms, and decision-support systems will provide tools to managers for: planning effective habitat restoration projects that protect property; managing the impacts of development in the watershed on water quality at current and future development levels; predicting the effects of climate change and watershed development on fish runs and water availability; and estimating the cumulative impacts of multiple nearshore and riverine restoration projects.

Performance-Based Water Management
Performance-based water management will be demonstrated for ground and surface water sources, shallow aquifer recharge, resource efficiency, distributed storage, and wetland restoration. Examples might include application of the Water Management Initiative “flow for flexibility” framework being tested in the Walla Walla Basin by the Department of Ecology and local partners.

Watershed Approach to Habitat Mitigation
Habitat mitigation projects derived from development and redevelopment projects will be directed towards sites where the best available science indicates the potential for the greatest environmental benefit, within the framework of watershed and nearshore habitat plans. Habitat mitigation dollars will be pooled and used strategically at sites that will produce habitat with the highest value to fish and wildlife habitat value, enhance other environmental features such as water quality, while supplying greater efficiency and certainty for applicants.

Marine Conservation Tool
Practical marine conservation tools will be developed in the Snohomish Estuary in partnership with area tribes, the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee and other interested parties, to demonstrate the potential benefits to marine conservation, biodiversity, and fisheries populations. Examples might include establishing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the estuary following NWIFC guidelines.