The Washington State Department of Commerce, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program, partnered with Kitsap and Pierce Counties to address regional planning for the Minter Creek watershed basin. The purpose of this effort was to look at land use within the watershed basin, and provide recommendations for upcoming Comprehensive Plan updates under the state Growth Management Act. This is part of the counties’ efforts to implement the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda to restore Puget Sound.
The Minter Creek watershed lies in both Kitsap and Pierce Counties. The Counties engaged in an innovative partnership to look at future land uses within the Minter Creek basin at a watershed level. Because the watershed lies in both counties, land uses that occur upstream in Kitsap County have an impact downstream on land in Pierce County and Minter Bay. The counties wanted to look together at the watershed as a whole rather than separately by county boundaries.
The Department of Commerce is the state agency charged with providing technical assistance to counties and cities to implement the state Growth Management Act through land use planning. Commerce provided facilitation, technical assistance, and support for the counties’ process to look at land use, water quality, and other issues within the watershed.
The Counties started the conversation on August 27 by conducting an open house to educate the interested public regarding existing and zoned land uses, drainage, water quality, recreation, and habitat. There were a number of county staff with resource materials. The Counties then convened a group of partners and interested participants, facilitated by Commerce, to carry the discussion of future land use forward. The group will met monthly in September, October and November of 2013, with a final meeting in January 2014.
The outcome of these meetings is action recommendations to the counties, including possible amendments to land use plans. Early in 2014, county staff will carry these recommendations forward to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners and Pierce County Council for consideration as part of a eight year review and update process the counties will be conducting under the Growth Management Act.
The Puget Sound Partnership is a state agency charged with leading the clean up of Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Action Agenda is a road map that lays out the work needed to achieve an ambitious goal: restoring the health of Puget Sound by 2020. The 2012/2013 Action Agenda adopted by the Puget Sound Partnership identifies key ongoing programs, local priorities for different areas of the Sound and more than 200 specific actions that must be implemented over the next two years to stay on track toward our recovery targets.
Counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) must plan to accommodate projected population growth, protect the environment, and encourage economic development consistent with adopted comprehensive plans. Counties must review and, if needed, revise their plans every eight years to comply with the GMA. Kitsap County must update its plan by June 30, 2016, and Pierce County must update its plan by June 30, 2015.