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.
This project acquired a permanent agricultural easement to protect 1,026 acres of working rangeland on Nelson Ranch. This easement is co-held by Okanogan County and the Okanogan Land Trust (formerly Okanogan Valley Land Council) and restricts future subdivision on this land and keeps valuable rangeland and soils for dryland production intact for future agricultural use. Five generations have worked this ranch for 108 years, it is one of the few remaining in the Okanogan Highlands and contributes significantly to the agricultural economy of Okanogan County. The ranch has high biological and historical value. Muskrat Lake and several springs on the property create outstanding habitat for migratory birds and waterfowl. Approximately 60% of the soils are classified as soils of statewide importance. Nelson Ranch has scenic vistas visible from two county roads. Protection of Nelson Ranch is the first example of preservation of large working lands in the Okanogan Highlands and ensures family succession and continued cattle ranching operations.