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 Okanogan Land Trust used this grant to purchase a permanent agricultural easement to protect 1590 acres of the Ellis Barnes Livestock Company’s ranch both rangeland and crop ground, including 89 acres irrigated and 80 acres dry land. This easement is held by the Okanogan Land Trust and to restrict future subdivision on this land, limit residential development and keep valuable rangeland and significant soils intact for future agricultural use. The project boundary includes 47 acres of wetlands that provide exceptional waterfowl habitat and other riparian values critical to the arid climate. The ranch abuts Whitestone Lake and is in close proximity to Spectacle Lake. The Barnes family began assembling this ranch in 1924 and it was incorporated in 1929, distinguishing it as one of the oldest “incorporated” ranches in Okanogan County. This family owned cow-calf operation is one of a handful still operating in the north end of the Okanogan Valley and contributes significantly to the local agricultural economy.