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 100 acres of the Williams’ farms 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 County is buying an agreement for three properties, which are actively farmed and predominately diversified organic vegetable farms that support several farmers who sell their produce at farmers’ markets. 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 Williams’ farms. The primary benefit of the project is to ensure the permanent preservation and maintenance of a large block of agricultural land. Whatcom County will contribute $265,500 in Conservation Futures and federal and local grants.