Neal Peirce offers this look at some of the plans and regulations officials in Washington are pushing forward to protect open spaces.
"Over the past 30 years, more than 2 million acres of Cascade-range forest and farm land has given way to sprawling development. In 1990 the state of Washington did pass a growth management act that restrained some helter-skelter expansion. But development has fragmented open spaces, including wildlife habitat and corridors. With rapid expansion of the urban footprint, added paving has intensified flooding and erosion. There's concern that climate change will bring warmer winters with less snow pack, leading to summertime drought, water shortages and increased forest fire danger.
Responding to the dangers, a 'Cascade Agenda' was launched in 2005 - a 100-year conservation and preservation plan for 1.3 million acres of the Puget Sound region's most prized waters, mountains and communities. Some 225,000 private acres have already been conserved under the plan, which is rooted in an imaginative transfer of development rights."