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Island County struggling to find Conservation Futures Fund volunteers

After months of searching, Island County is still looking for volunteers to participate in two boards that evaluate projects trying to utilize Conservation Futures Funds.

The county started looking for volunteers in October to serve on the Community Advisory Board and the Technical Advisory Board; however, nobody has applied yet.

“It would be nice to fill the positions,” said Pam Dill, who is coordinating the application search for Island County. She said it doesn’t require a large time commitment.

The Technical Advisory Group evaluates applications in March and the Community Advisory Board meets in May before they forward recommendations to the Board of Island County Commissioners.

The Conservation Futures Funds made news in late 2013 when county officials considered placing the fund on hold for one year.

Instead, commissioners came up with priorities on how to use the fund.

The highest priority projects are acquiring easements around Outlying Field and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station followed by loan payoff, and applications to maintain existing properties funded by the futures fund.

Conservation Futures Fund is paid through a 6.25 cent tax per $1,000 assessed property valuation.

Money raised through the fund pays for acquiring rights in open space, farm and agricultural land, timberland and to maintain properties that has been acquired through use of the futures fund.

The Community Advisory Board is looking for three positions on the eight-member board. Current vacancies on the board include representatives from the Town of Coupeville, the City of Oak Harbor and Camano Island.

The board evaluates projects based on the ability to protect, preserve, maintain or restore open space, wetlands, timberlands and habitat areas.

The Technical Advisory Group is looking for one candidate who lives in unincorporated Island.

The group evaluates projects based on technical merit, financial feasibility, the extent of the benefit and compliance with fund criteria.

Dill said there needs to at least be a quorum on each board in order for the application evaluations to take place.

To apply to be a member of the Community Advisory Board or Technical Advisory Group, sent a letter of interest and statement of qualifications to Island County Board of Commissioners, Attn: Pam Dill, PO Box 5000, Coupeville WA 98239. Fax is 360-6789-7381 or email pamd@co.island.wa.us

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3.

 

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