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.
Whatcom County will use this grant to conserve more than 172 acres of the Squalicum Ranch in the central part of the county. The County will buy a voluntary land preservation agreement, also called a conservation easement, which will prevent the land from being developed and ensure it will be available for farming forever. The agreement also preserves the area for wildlife habitat and as a historic view corridor for drivers traveling along the Mount Baker Highway. The ranch is used predominately by grass-fed livestock and is one of the last remaining large blocks of agriculture in its vicinity along the Mount Baker Highway. The purchase will help Whatcom County achieve its agriculture protection goals. In 2001, the County set a goal to protect 100,000 acres of agricultural land, but has only 88,000 acres in agricultural zoning, which means the remaining acres must come from land zoned for rural development, such as the Squalicum Ranch. Whatcom County will contribute $199,800 in Conservation Futures.