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July 14, 2017

Skagit County’s Voluntary Stewardship Program Work Plan Approved

A program to protect critical areas in agricultural zones is moving forward. The State’s Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) Technical Panel voted unanimously to recommend approval of Skagit County’s VSP Work Plan. 

Participation in the VSP allows the County and agricultural landowners to protect and restore critical areas through the use of voluntary incentive programs rather than new regulations.

"We would like to thank our work group and everyone who gave input during this process," said Skagit County Commissioner Ron Wesen. "The positive outcome will give a level of certainty to both preserving agriculture and protecting our critical areas."

For landowners, participation in incentive programs is voluntary. Those who choose to implement a conservation project get a say in changes on their property, and can get funding assistance – by installing fencing, plantings, or drainage improvements, for example.

The Skagit County Commissioners have long recognized the need to balance protection of watershed resources while ensuring the viability of agriculture.  Implementing the Voluntary Stewardship Program demonstrates the County’s commitment to the protection and enhancement of all critical areas.

In 2007, the state Legislature adopted legislation starting the process that led to the Voluntary Stewardship Program – an alternative approach for counties statewide to address Growth Management Act requirements.  Skagit County has been involved in the development of VSP since its inception and is committed to its success.

Find more information about Skagit County’s Voluntary Stewardship Program at www.skagitcounty.net/VSP.

For more information, contact Kara Symonds, Skagit County Watershed Planner at karas@co.skagit.wa.us.