SPOKANE - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Spokane County Division of Building and Planning, and University of Washington (UW) Department of Urban Design and Planning will receive a planning award October 14 at the American Planning Association-Washington Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Spokane.
The trio was selected to receive the 2003 Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association's Honor Award in the Environmental Planning Category for identifying wildlife habitat networks and developing incentives and land use regulations to encourage preservation of ecosystems.
The project, "Protecting Biodiversity: Building Habitat Networks in Spokane County," began as a project spearheaded by student Matt Stevenson of a UW class taught by professor Frank Westerlund. The class mapped wildlife habitat networks with the aid of WDFW biologists Kevin Robinette and Howard Ferguson based in Spokane. Ferguson refined the mapping with the aid of other biological information and ground truthing.
Spokane County planner Tim Lawhead explained that the final map was used by the county to develop a new zoning classification known as "Rural Conservation" that encourages environmentally sensitive development.
"We consider this project a model for landscape level planning," said Robinette, now WDFW's eastern region habitat program manager. "The high level of involvement and interaction by county planning staff, technical experts at the University, and our biologists make it a model for other counties working on comprehensive plans to meet requirements of the state Growth Management Act."
The award presentation will be made at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Grand Ball Room of the Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post Ave., in Spokane.