Farmland Preservation protects valuable farmland and habitat for recreationally important animals, like salmon, birds, deer, and elk. These projects allow families to continue farming the land they have worked on for generations, and provide Washingtonians with healthy local food and a diverse economy. WWRP is the only source of farmland preservation funding in the state budget.
The North Olympic Land Trust used this grant to purchase a farmland conservation easement on 38.86 acres of prime farmland. The property is adjacent to the previously conserved Dungeness Creamery. 100% of the soils are prime farmland soils or soils of statewide importance. Soil types, weather, and water availability make this farm suitable for any crop. An agricultural conservation easement will conserve the bucolic view from the levee along the Dungeness River. The primary benefit of this project is the preservation of working farmland. Originally, this project was 104 acres. In March of 2020, the LLC acquired 64 acres of farmland and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe acquired the remaining 40 acres for floodplain restoration. This renewal of historical Riparian Protection will support salmon recovery and boost overall ecosystem health. Chinook salmon, summer chum, bull trout and steelhead are among the fish that utilize the river and are federally listed on the Endangered Species Act. Public access will be maintained through a walking path along the relocated levee, where community members will be able to experience and enjoy the border between farm and river. At end of May, the LLC swapped about 24 acres of River’s Edge with the Creamery to the north. We traded them quality farmland for farmland that is better served as river floodplain. In the same transaction as the swap, the LLC sold the newly acquired land to the Jamestown Tribe who used State salmon money to purchase the land for salmon habitat. As the Creamery is already conserved, this transaction required a partial extinguishment and amendment of the conservation easement. The next phase of this project was the conservation easement. The conservation easement protects farmland soils, allows infrastructure to support a viable farm, and protects the scenic and aesthetic values of open farmland. It does so by preventing conversion to development and preventing further degradation of ecosystem function, but allowing a limited amount of development and impervious surfaces. All but one development right is extinguished with the conservation easement. After the easement closed in late January, the next phase of this project will be selling the conserved land to a local farmer. We are under contract with the Dungeness Valley Creamery.