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The concept of sustainability underlies a new approach to watershed management being developed by Pierce County in the state of Washington. The new approach to watershed management seeks to strike a better balance between the needs of people and the needs of the natural environment. It is hoped that the new approach will enable development to continue in the county while preserving essential components of the ecosystem.

The goal is sustainable development within a protected and naturally functioning ecosystem. The new approach is being tested in Gig Harbor basin. The 43.6 square mile Gig Harbor basin occupies a peninsula extending southward into Puget Sound a few miles west of the city of Tacoma. Streams in the basin have been altered by human activities but still support a diverse aquatic ecosystem including several species of salmon.

The first phase of the planning study involved characterization of the existing condition. The second phase of the study involved plan development. The plan recommends both regulatory changes and capital improvements.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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