VSP is a collaborative process that helps Washington communities ensure healthy landscapes and strong farms for the future. Through VSP, counties work with local residents to develop a plan to manage growth, protect critical areas, and maintain viable agriculture.

 

A voluntary approach supporting agriculture and natural resources

• Prior to 2011, the main tool for counties to ensure protection of critical areas on agricultural land was regulation.

• Regulation of agricultural landowners can threaten farm viability and lead to legal battles.

• VSP was created in 2011 to give counties the option to use locally driven watershed plans and voluntary, incentive-based tools
to protect critical areas.

 

Managing population growth and development

• Our state’s Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW) requires all counties to develop
plans for managing population growth and development.

• The plans must identify and protect critical areas, including critical areas
on agricultural lands.

• Plans also preserve farmland by preventing urban growth from crowding out agriculture.

 

 

HOW IT WORKS - THREE PHASES OF VSP


Phase 1: Develop a watershed work plan. Key local stakeholders — including
agricultural, environmental, and tribal representatives — are invited to
participate in VSP work groups. Groups develop work plans to protect critical
areas and maintain viable agriculture in their watershed. Work plans are sent to
the Washington State Conservation Commission for approval. The group begins
outreach to agricultural landowners who might participate in the program.


Phase 2: Implementation and stewardship plans. VSP work group works
with local technical assistance providers to conduct outreach to agricultural
landowners in priority areas identified in the approved work plan. Technical
assistance providers create stewardship plans for landowners who choose to
participate. Stewardship plans provide site-specific best management practices
to help landowners meet agricultural and natural resource conservation goals.


Phase 3: Monitoring. Existing incentive programs and on-the ground help
is directed to fully implement the VSP work plan, which includes helping
landowners install practices according to their stewardship plans. The work
group monitors work plan success over 5- and 10-year year intervals. If progress
toward goals is not being met, new incentive programs can be sought or created
to meet those needs.

 

 

 

 

VSP ADMINISTRATION

 

Local

Counties have designated themselves or another local entity, such as a conservation district, to administer the

VSP work group. This includes


1. Coordinating the VSP work group,
2. Administering program funds, and
3. Designing an outreach plan and establishing stewardship plans using best management practices.

 

State

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) is the state-level administrator for VSP.
The SCC Executive Director is in charge of reviewing and approving VSP watershed work plans with help
from a state advisory committee and technical panel.

 

 

 
 

WHAT ARE
CRITICAL AREAS?

There are five critical areas identified in Washington’s
Growth Management Act that each county must designate and protect:

1. Wetlands
2. Frequently flooded areas
3. Critical aquifer rechargeareas
4. Geologically hazardousareas
5. Fish and wildlife habitat  conservation areas
(emphasis on anadromous fish)

Find more information on the
Washington State Department of
Commerce website here

 

San Juan County VSP Commitee Participation

 

 

Prior San Juan County VSP Meeting Documents

 

Voluntary Stewardship Agenda - Brickworks Friday Harbor- April 17, 2017

VSP Agenda 4.17.17

Voluntary Stewardship Program - Grace Church Hall, Lopez Island - February 3rd, 2017

VSP Agenda 2.3.17

Voluntary Stewardship Program Meeting – Monday, April 25th, 2016

10:30 AM-3:30 PM at Woodmen Hall on Lopez Island

VSP Agenda 4.25.16

VSP Compiled Feedback 4.25.16

Overall VSP Goals and Benchmarks Flowchart 4.22.16 DRAFT

Roles & Responsibilities

Clarification of Issues and Example BMP

Wetland Functions

Hedgerow Planting Code 422

Prescribed Grazing Code 528

Heavy Use Area Protection Code 561

Voluntary Stewardship Program Meeting – Monday, March 28th, 2016

10:30 AM-12:30 PM at the Orcas Hotel, Orcas Landing

VSP Agenda 3.28.16

VSP Summary 3.28.16

Objectives and Practices

SJC Farmland Use Map

BMP – Watering Facility

Watering Facility Job Sheet

BMP – Upland Wildlife Habitat Management

Upland Wildlife Habitat Management Job Sheet

BMP – Stream Crossing

Stream Crossing Job Sheet

BMP – Riparian Forest Buffer

Riparian Forest Buffer Job Sheet

BMP – Grassed Waterway

Grassed Waterway Job Sheet

Voluntary Stewardship Meeting – Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

11:30 AM-1:30 PM at the San Juan Island Grange

VSP Agenda 1.27.16

VSP Summary 1.27.16

Proposed Meeting Schedule

Proposed Work Group Ground Rules

Background Materials

Voluntary Stewardship Program Legislation

Definition of Agricultural Activities

Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC) WA VSP

Sustainable Agriculture

Conservation Planning

Cost Share Interest Packet

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Factsheet

Critical Areas

Critical Area Protection

Critical Area Regulations and Agricultural Applicability

Work Plan

Draft Work Plan Outline

Pilot Program Counties:

Thurston County

http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/planning/vsp/voluntary-stewardship-home.html

http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/planning/vsp/voluntary-stewardship-meetings.html

Chelan County

http://www.co.chelan.wa.us/natural-resources/pages/voluntary-stewardship-program?parent=Planning

http://www.co.chelan.wa.us/files/natural-resources/documents/Planning/voluntary_stewarship/faq.pdf

 

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 350 Court Street, #10, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Physical Address: 530 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Telephone: 360-378-6621

 

© San Juan Islands Conservation District 2017