Natural Resources Division
Manager: Dan Berentson
County Voluntary Stewardship Program
Skagit County VSP Work Plan Approved
VSP Watershed Group Documents
VSP Startup Documents
The Board of County Commissioners adopted resolutions that declare that the County has sufficient funding to begin coordinating the Voluntary Stewardship Program, establishes the Watershed Group and appoints the Watershed Group.
Where do we go from here?
Skagit County has pledged to work more quickly than the required schedule envisions to accomplish resource protection more quickly.
How is the program funded?
The goals of the voluntary stewardship program assume that there will be funding for technical assistance, operation of local watershed groups, incentive funds for implementing voluntary stewardship measures, and enforcement of existing regulations. Participants in the statewide Ruckelshaus Center process that led to the agreement to support the VSP consider an unfunded program agreement to be tantamount to a non-agreement. Given the economic climate, the quest for funding to make the program successful will be a significant challenge for all parties and implementing agencies.
How is the state involved in the VSP?
The Washington State Conservation Commission will provide administrative oversight through a statewide advisory committee composed of representatives from counties, tribes, agriculture, and environmental organizations.
What happens if the VSP doesn't protect streams and other critical areas?
Checkpoints are built into the program to ensure that protection of critical areas is achieved. Stewardship programs will be evaluated at 3, 5, and 10 years, and counties will be required to proceed with additional actions if benchmarks to protect critical areas are not achieved in local watersheds through voluntary efforts. Potential consequences and actions for counties in this situation include review and possible amendments to critical areas ordinances, or the county may choose to adopt an alternative plan for protecting critical areas subject to state agency approval.
Do farmers still have to comply with regulations?
Yes. The County's
Critical Areas Ordinance is still in effect, including the special buffer
exemptions for ongoing agriculture and the mandatory Watercourse Protection
Measures. Farmers also have to be careful to comply with state water pollution
control laws (RCW
90.48). Learn more from the following resources:
about the Clean Samish Initiative?
What's the difference between the VSP and the NRSP?
Skagit County's Natural Resource Stewardship Program is an existing, four-year, grant-funded effort to help landowners enhance streamside habitat through voluntary easements, plantings, and livestock fencing. NRSP is an example of the kind of voluntary programs that will likely be integrated into the County's VSP (likely with a less confusingly-similar name).
For More Information
Photo by Pfly, CC BY-SA