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 State Conservation Commission proposes to acquire a conservation easement on 601 acres to preserve historic farmland and allow agricultural production to continue into the future. Swauk Prairie Farms is located in Kittitas County, between the Teanaway watershed and the Swauk watershed. The farm sits on a section of land on the Swauk Prairie terminal moraine. The farm is bisected by Hwy 970 that stretches from Cle Elum to the intersection with Hwy 97 at Lauderdale Junction.The farm was started by the great grandfather of the current owners who purchased the first quarter section in 1887. Designated a State Centennial Farm in 1989, the farm is a dryland operation that has produced soft white winter wheat, hay and potatoes when the weather allowed. It is currently utilized for livestock grazing and hay (weather permitting). The owners (three brothers) strongly desire to continue agricultural practices on this land for future generations.As noted in the 2015 WA State Wildlife Action Plan, the project area includes three “habitats of greatest conservation need” including Columbia Basin Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland, Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Steppe, and Northern Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Woodland. The project area is 1.5 miles from the Teanaway Community Forest. This beautiful 50,241-acre landscape lies at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed and is the first state owned Community Forest.