words that say Thurston County

Natural Resources Planning

Conservation Futures Program

In 2017, the Board of County Commissioners placed the annual Conservation Futures process on hold. The purpose is to evaluate the role of Conservation Futures in the County‚Äôs in-development Habitat Conservation Plan. Please revisit this page for announcements about the 2018 Conservation Futures funding round. 

Conservation Futures is a land preservation program that protects, preserves, maintains, improves, restores, and limits the future use of threatened areas of open space, timberlands, wetlands, habitat areas, culturally significant sites, and agricultural farmlands within Thurston County. Conservation Futures funds, acquired through a property tax levy, are used to purchase the land or the rights to future development of the land.

The Washington State Legislature first granted the authority for a Conservation Futures tax levy in 1971 when RCW 84.34 was enacted and later amended in 1988.  RCW 84.34.200 declares that the acquisition of interests or rights in real property for the preservation of open spaces and areas constitutes a public purpose for which public funds may properly be expended or advanced.  RCW 84.34.230 declares the county may levy an amount not to exceed 6.25-cents per $1,000 of assessed value of all taxable property within the county for the Conservation Futures Program.

The Legislature found that Conservation Futures are a useful tool for counties to preserve land of public interest for future generations and are encouraged to use some conservation futures as one tool for salmon preservation purposes. Any county, city, town, nonprofit historic preservation corporation (RCW64.04.130) or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association (RCW 84.34.250) may qualify for Conservation Futures funds. The legislature also declared that up to fifteen percent of the Conservation Futures fund may be used for the maintenance and operation of any property acquired with conservation futures funds.

In 1989, Thurston County became one of the first counties in the state to implement the tax levy and has been collecting it ever since. Even though Thurston County property taxpayers could pay up to 6.25-cents per $1,000 assessed value on each parcel, in 2017 they paid 4.4-cents per $1,000 assessed value. The levy is subject to the statutory limit of 1% per year. The funding, identified in the budget as Conservation Futures, is budgeted annually by the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners.

If you have any question contact Andrew Deffobis (Associate Planner), Phone 360-754-3355 ext. 5467, or e-mail deffoba@co.thurston.wa.us.

Click here for further information on the RCW as well as links to the actual language of the RCW.

2016 Conservation Futures Awards

2016 Conservation Futures Funding Awards

2015 Conservation Futures Awards

2015 Conservation Futures Funding Awards

2014 Conservation Futures Awards

2014 Conservation Futures Funding Awards

2013 Conservation Futures Awards

2013 Conservation Futures Funding Awards

2012 Conservation Futures Awards

2012 Conservation Futures Funding Awards

2011 Conservation Futures Awards

2011 Conservation Futures Funding Awards


This page last updated: