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 Whidbey Camano Land Trust will use this grant to conserve 202 acres of historic, working farmland 3 miles south of Oak Harbor in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island. The land trust will buy voluntary land preservation agreements, also called conservation easements, which will prevent development of two farms forever. The 129-acre Penn Cove Farm primarily is used for cropland to support an on-site dairy and heifer-raising operation. The farm has a full suite of infrastructure, including barns and farm buildings, irrigation system, manure digester, and fully-implemented farm resource management plan. The second farm is 73 acres, used primarily for hay and beef cattle production, and contains farm structures. Farmland protection, especially in Ebey’s reserve, is a high priority for Island County residents and is a primary goal in the county’s comprehensive plan. The need to protect these two farms is becoming more critical as the population around Oak Harbor expands to serve a growing Navy population. Conserving the farms also protects prime farmland soils, critical aquifer recharge areas, scenic open space, and wildlife habitat in the reserve. Both farms are identified as high protection priorities for the land trust, National Park Service, and Ebey’s Trust board. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust will contribute $923,230 in federal and local grants.