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 project seeks to acquire a perpetual conservation easement to protect 464 acres of agricultural land along the Similkameen River, approximately 13 miles north of Loomis in Okanogan County. This acreage adjoins the existing Similkameen-Chopaka Wildlife Unit owned and managed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Also in the vicinity are protected areas owned and managed by BLM, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and DNR, as well as existing conservation easements held by Okanogan Land Trust and WDFW. The project would add a substantial link to a corridor of protection along the Similkameen River The property includes significant acreage of both Prime Farmland Soils and Farmland of Statewide Importance. The land has been in agricultural production for over 100 years and is currently owned by a multi-generation ranching family. The conservation easement would enable the owners to solidify their ranching operation and pass it on to the next generation, free from subdivision and development pressures. The ranch currently provides livelihoods for three ranching households and can continue to do so if preserved as farmland. In addition, the seasonal grazing pastures and irrigated meadows provide habitat for elk, moose, bear, deer, and a wide variety of bird species that frequent the landscape. The reintroduced Loup Loup wolfpack frequents the ranch property and the surrounding region.