Thornton Ranch Agricultural Easement

Category Overview

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.

Project Highlights

Agricultural activity associated with this property dates back to homestead era. The current producer has been on the property for 57-years and has owned for the last 20-years. The property consists of three parcels totaling 107.7 acres. The property is currently utilized as a successful cow/calf livestock operation as well as hay production (generally 3-4 cuttings annually). Depending on stocking rates, the producer runs 150-250 cow/calf pairs annually. The producer utilizes existing grazing leases on private, state, and federal land along with his own property in Moxee, Washington. He also partners with the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy for grazing on certain lands they manage. The property is serviced by the Yakima Tieton Irrigation District and also holds surface water rights to Cowiche Creek. The soils on the property are: Prime farmland if irrigated, Farmland of statewide importance, and Farmland of unique importance (all lands outside the riparian area). The ranch is bisected by Cowiche Creek for a total length of .65 miles (3,442 feet) and supports listed Steelhead, spring Chinook, Coho and is listed as bull trout habitat. The property supports active spawning, rearing, and migration. The landowner has a conservation plan with North Yakima Conservation District. Activities to date include wood placement, riparian buffer with plantings, and relocation of confined animal feeding operation with offsite watering facility.

Quick Facts

WWRP Applicant: Conservation Commission Category: Farmland Preservation WWRP Grant: $ 916,713.00 Applicant Match: 0 Project Type: Acquisition County: Yakima Legislative District: 14 Status: Board preliminary approved  RCO Project # 20-1546

Location Details

Beginning at the intersection of 40th and Summitview in Yakima, Washington. Head west on Summitview Ave (8.8 miles). Turn left onto Cowiche Mill Rd. Continue for 1.4 miles. Destination will be on left (1370 Cowiche Mill Road)

What is the WWRP

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a state grant program that creates and conserves local and state parks, wildlife habitat and working farms. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office administers WWRP grants, and the legislature funds the program.