Land Conservation Incentive Programs of Thurston County Government

Summary of the work
Thurston County government offers land conservation incentive programs listed below to owners of certain types of agricultural lands. Programs include:

Conservation Futures
A land trust or qualifying organization buys property or development rights from Thurston County landowners with funds provided by Thurston County government.

Open Space Tax Program  
Owners of certain types of high-quality habitat or open space properties may apply to Thurston County government for a reduction of their County property taxes.

Transfer / Purchase of Development Rights 
Owners of certain types of agricultural lands can transfer or sell development rights to Thurston County government without selling the entire property.

Voluntary Stewardship Program 
A citizen-lead planning effort to make conservation incentive programs a viable alternative for ag land owners seeking relief from land-use and development regulations.

 

MORE PROGRAM DETAILS

Regulatory Reasons for the work
The County's land conservation incentive programs are mandated by the Washington State Legislature through its Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A.020) which requires county governments to reduce urban sprawl, minimize development, maintain open spaces, and protect natural resources.

Project funding
Programs are funded by the Washington State legislature or by County property taxes (https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/assessor/process-where2018.html), after being approved by Thurston's Board of County Commissioners.