Jefferson County Farm on Its Way to Permanent Protection —

Jefferson County Farm on Its Way to Permanent Protection

Christopher Dunagan, Nov. 7, 2007, Kitsap Sun


Glendale Farm, a 180-acre organic farm near Chimacum, is one step away from becoming a farm for all time.

A state grant of $546,000 has been approved to allow Jefferson County to purchase a "conservation easement" that would forever preclude development of the property. That money will be added to $239,000 in county Conservation Future Funds approved last summer by the Jefferson County commissioners.

The final piece needed to complete the easement is a federal farmland preservation grant.

"We applied for the federal grant last year," said Sarah Spaeth, conservation director for the Jefferson Land Trust. "We were told the only reason we didn't get it was because we didn't have matching funds in place."

Now all the pieces of the puzzle are ready to be put together.

A formal appraisal will establish the value of the conservation easement and determine the maximum amount that can be paid to the property owner to maintain the farmland. That easement is nearing completion, Spaeth said.

The property currently includes 150 acres of pasture, 23 acres of forest and a half-mile of Chimacum Creek. The land contains habitat for salmon, trumpeter swans, eagles, hawks and many other species.

Securing the conservation easement for Glendale Farm will be the first time Jefferson County and the Jefferson Land Trust have worked together to protect farmland, but it is not likely to be the last, Spaeth said.

"I believe our success will lead us to keep working together," she said.

"This is a key property," she added. "It has a long history of agriculture use — since 1857 when it started as a dairy farm. It is at the confluence of both Beaver and Central valleys, both agriculturally zoned areas."

Farms in proximity to the town of Chimacum are rapidly being subdivided for residential use, but county officials say they hope to save the key farmlands in the county. A consortium of interest groups have organized the Jefferson LandWorks Collaborative to advance farmland preservation along with rural economic development.

Glendale Farm is among 16 farms throughout the state that will share $4.7 million in the state's first program to preserve farmland. Others are in Clallam, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Island, Yakima, Okanogan and Kittitas counties.

Farmland preservation was included in a $100-million program that also directed money to outdoor recreation, habitat conservation, shoreline habitat protection and Puget Sound restoration. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Fund was doubled from its previous two-year appropriation of $50 million.

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