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 Emerick Project will result in an agricultural conservation easement on 2,576 acres of quality rangeland in Yakima County. The property supports a third-generation 150 head cow/calf operation. The project will permanently protect the early spring/summer pasture element of the operation. The project area is a critical piece of the overall farm business. The conservation easement will allow the landowner to maintain a viable livestock operation despite local development pressure. In addition, the property provides critical habitat to many terrestrial species and plant communities, several of which are unique to this landscape and listed as endangered or threatened. This project seeks to permanently protect quality rangeland and support the landowners goal of ensuring the ranching operation is affordable for the next generations. The landowners already have the fourth and fifth generations lined up to continue the operation. However, that transition hinges on this projects success in ensuring a secure land base into the future. The North Yakima Conservation District (NYCD) and the State Conservation Commission (SCC) developed this project in partnership. SCC will hold and steward the easement backed up by the full resources of the State. As the local entity, NYCD will be contracted to monitor the easement on an annual basis. SCC and NYCD have a successful track record of completing and monitoring conservation easements.