The Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS) was established with the intent that fish, farm, and flood management advocates can make more progress by working together than by being at odds with each other.
The SLS was convened in 2010 by Snohomish County, Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribes, state and federal agencies, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders to improve coordination and generate progress for fish, farm, and flood management interests.
What is SLS?
SLS is a forum of organizations, agencies, and individuals that are working to balance the need to restore vital salmon habitat while also protecting the viability of local agriculture in Snohomish County. With monthly meetings and weekly phone calls, active participants work together to solve complex problems ranging from floodplain connectivity to regulatory efficiency.
benefits for all
The key behind the SLS is its mission to generate net gains in agricultural, tribal culture, and ecological productivity. The term "net gains" refers to the principle that the benefits of broad-scale agreements should be greater than the cost for every party involved. No person or group should be expected to accept a net loss so that someone else can gain. Only "win-win" agreements, in which all parties see more gain than loss should be completed under the SLS. By working together, projects for fish, farms, or flood management are "packaged" together to encourage coordination of funding, permitting, implementation, and support.
Agriculture plays a huge part in the economy of Washington state, providing money and jobs statewide. However, much agriculture is threatened by climate change, sea level rise, reduced infrastructure, and population growth.
Salmon have always been iconic in the Pacific Northwest, acting as a favorite menu item and providing nutrients for our forests to grow. Population numbers have greatly declined over the past 50 years, however, and much of that is due to habitat loss, pollution, and other environmental factors.
Flooding can take a major toll on landowners, agricultural producers, and salmon habitat, costing millions of dollars in damage. Since 1962, there have been 18 floods of such record proportions that they met the qualifications for Presidentially Declared Disasters.