Spaeth appointed to state Conservation Commission

Posted 9/13/16

Sarah Spaeth of Port Townsend has been appointed to the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The SCC is the coordinating state agency for Washington state’s 45 …

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Spaeth appointed to state Conservation Commission

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Sarah Spaeth of Port Townsend has been appointed to the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The SCC is the coordinating state agency for Washington state’s 45 conservation districts, providing voluntary, incentive-based programs to help private landowners conserve their properties, with a mission “to conserve natural resources on private lands, in collaboration with conservation districts and other partners.” Spaeth fills the spot vacated by Lynn Bahrych, who was appointed by Gov. Gary Locke in 2004.

The commission consists of a 10-member governing board composed of two members appointed by the governor, four members representing state agencies, and four members elected by the Washington Association of Conservation Districts. Members are chosen to represent areas across Washington state, and to bring a broad spectrum of experience in areas such as ranching, farming, law, management, public service, natural resource management and more, according to a press release.

Spaeth brings extensive experience from a career in environmental conservation. She received her undergraduate degree in marine biology from Western Washington University and a graduate degree in coastal zone management from the School of Marine Affairs at the University of Washington, before going on to lead land conservation projects for Jefferson Land Trust, a private nonprofit land conservation organization serving Jefferson County, starting in 1996.

Throughout her tenure with Jefferson Land Trust, Spaeth built a track record of success working with private landowners to preserve their properties on a voluntary basis for wildlife habitat, open space, forestry and agriculture. In 2010, Spaeth was honored with the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. Eric Harrington, president of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, which administers the award, cited Spaeth’s “ability to form productive partnerships with other organizations, to engage community members honestly and clearly, and to manage sometimes difficult and complex transactions efficiently and transparently.”

“Sarah has a unique ability to think creatively and work cooperatively to find solutions to complicated issues. With these skills, and her knowledge and experience in voluntary, private land conservation, she is a perfect choice for this appointment,” said Richard Tucker, Jefferson Land Trust’s executive director, in a press release. “Collaboration is Sarah’s specialty, and she will bring the great vision and strategic thinking that characterize all her work to this role."

Spaeth’s accomplishments in conservation include the permanent protection of Jefferson County’s most important and iconic places, such as Tamanowas Rock, the old Brown Dairy, wildlife preserves on the Duckabush River, and Chimacum Creek salmon habitat.

“I’m honored to be appointed to the Conservation Commission,” said Spaeth. “I appreciate this opportunity to be of greater service to the conservation work that means so much to me. Washington state’s rich natural resources are fundamental to our heritage, economy, communities and resilience for the future, and I am so grateful to be able to contribute even more widely to the important work to conserve them.”

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