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Voluntary Stewardship Program

The Growth Management Act requires Washington counties to designate and protect critical areas, such as streams (RCW 36.70A.060). Agricultural, environmental, and tribal representatives have worked on a new, alternative approach to critical areas protection for agricultural activities that the Legislature adopted in 2011 (ESHB 1886). The legislation for this new, alternative approach is codified in RCW 36.70A, the Growth Management Act, as the "Voluntary Stewardship Program" (VSP).

Background Information

On November 30, 2011, as authorized by ESHB 1886, the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners adopted Ordinance No 2011-012, electing to participate in the VSP, as an alternative to RCW 36.70A.060, for protecting critical areas in areas used for agricultural activities.

In 2015 the Washington State Conservation Commission provided funding for Kittitas County to develop a Voluntary Stewardship Program. As part of participating in this program, Counties must designate a Watershed Group to develop a watershed-scale plan that will:

  • Identify critical resource concerns
  • Identify agricultural activities in critical areas
  • Create a plan for targeted outreach to assist landowners in developing farm plans that address agricultural impacts to critical areas on their property
  • Identify and maintain economically viable agriculture while protecting and restoring critical areas

In November 2015, Kittitas County entered into an interlocal agreement with the Kittitas County Conservation District to facilitate the Watershed Group. In January 2016 Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners passed Resolution 2016-001 designating the Kittitas County Conservation District as the lead entity for the Voluntary Stewardship Program.

Stay Informed

For further information and to stay up to date on upcoming meetings and the progress of the Voluntary Stewardship Program please sign up for email notifications at the top of this page and visit the Kittitas County Conservation District webpage.