MALTBY, Wash. -- The Washington State Department of Ecology will honor two people who teamed up to protect an environmentally sensitive bog in Snohomish County.

Community activist Randy Whalen and Deputy Snohomish County Executive Mark Ericks will receive the Environmental Excellence Award during an Earth Day ceremony Wednesday.

In 2012 Whalen challenged a proposed housing development on the banks of Hooven Bog near Maltby.

The plan was to remove a forest of trees that are credited with buffering the bog from nearby housing and roads.

Whalen successfully appealed the county's approval of permits for the development and later, the county agreed to buy the land and preserve it from development.

The Department of Ecology said it takes hundreds or thousands of years for wetlands like the Hooven Bog to form. Plant matter decays and fills the lake bed, creating peat.

Whalen said the bog near his home hosts several rare and unique plant and animal species.