Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP)

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Washington State’s Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) provides an alternative approach for counties to address Growth Management requirements for agricultural activities. This negotiated program uses a watershed-based, collaborative stewardship planning process, relying on incentive-based practices that protect critical areas, promote viable agriculture, and encourage cooperation among diverse stakeholders.

Program Contact:

Bill Eller 509.385.7512

VSP Resources for Conservation Districts:
How it Works

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) administers funding for counties to implement the program. Counties then designate a work group to develop a watershed-scale plan that will:

  • Identify critical areas and resource concerns.
  • Identify agricultural activities in the 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

What are Critical Areas?

There are five critical areas identified in Washington’s GMA:

  • Wetlands
  • Frequently flooded areas
  • Critical aquifer recharge areas
  • Geologically hazardous areas
  • Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas

Visit the Washington Department of Commerce website for more information on critical areas: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Services/localgovernment/GrowthManagement/Growth-Management-Planning-Topics/Critical-Areas-and-Best-Available-Science/Pages/default.aspx<

Background

1990 – Washington Legislature passes Growth Management Act (GMA), which requires state and local governments to manage growth by identifying and protecting critical areas, designating urban growth areas, and preparing and implementing plans and regulations. While well-intentioned, implementation of GMA requirements meets with years of conflict and lawsuits.

2007 – In response to GMA conflicts, Washington Legislature charges Ruckelshaus Center—a collaborative, problem-solving center—to examine the conflict between protecting agricultural land and protecting critical areas under GMA.

2010-11 – Based on recommendations of the Ruckelshaus Center, the legislature creates VSP at the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC). VSP represents a voluntary, incentive-based approach that offers counties an alternative for meeting GMA requirements related to protecting critical areas and agricultural lands. No new state funding was provided for VSP, and counties are not obligated to implement VSP until funding is provided.

2012 – Counties are given option to opt-in to VSP or continue to meet GMA requirements as written under existing law. 28 of 39 counties opt-in to VSP.

2013 – State funds made available for two pilot counties—Thurston and Chelan—to begin VSP planning process.

2015 – State provides funding for 26 remaining VSP counties to begin planning process./a>

How it Works
  • The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) administers funding for counties to implement the program. Counties then designate a work group to develop a watershed-scale plan that will:
  • Identify critical areas and resource concerns.
  • Identify agricultural activities in the 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

28 Counties Opt-in to the VSP

CountyResolutionContact
Adams
County
Loren Wiltse, Planning Director(509) 488-9441 or this e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Asotin CountyAsotin County Resolution #12-01Karst Riggers, Building Official/Planner(509) 243-2020 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Benton CountyBenton County Resolution #2012-038Michael Shuttleworth, Planning Manager(509) 786-5612 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Chelan CountyChelan County Resolution #2012-03Mike Kaputa, Director, Chelan County Natural Resources.(509) 670-6935 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Columbia CountyColumbia County Resolution #2012-08Richard Hendricksen, Director, Columbia Cnty Planning(509) 382-4676 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cowlitz CountyCowlitz County Resolution #12-016Greta Lavadour, Associate Planner(360) 577-3052 X 6676 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Douglas CountyDouglas County Resolution #TLS 12-01Mark Kulaas, AICP, Dir of Land Services(509) 884-7173 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Ferry CountyFerry County Resolution #2012-01 Irene Whipple, Planning Director(509) 775-5225 X 3101 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Franklin CountyFranklin County Resolution #2012-023Jerrod MacPherson, Director of Planning & Building(509) 545-3521 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Garfield CountyDonna Deal,County AuditorThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Grant CountyGrant County Resolution #12-008-CCDamien Hooper, Planning Manager(509) 754-2011 X 626 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Grays Harbor CountyGrays Harbor County Resolution #2011-130Lee Napier, Director, Planning & Building Division(360) 249-4222 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Kittitas CountyKittitas County Ordinance #2011-012Anna Nelson, AICP, Land Use Planner(206) 382-9540 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lewis CountyLewis County Resolution #11-365Robert Johnson, Director, Community Development(360) 740-1146
Lincoln CountyLincoln County Resolution #12-01Courtney Thompson, County Planner(509) 725-7911 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mason CountyMason County Resolution #07-12 Barbara Adkins, Director, Community Development(360) 427-9670 X 286 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Okanogan CountyOkanogan County Resolution #10-2012Perry Huston, County Planning(509) 422-7160
Pacific CountyPacific County Resolution #2012-003Faith Taylor-Eldred, Community Development Director(360) 875-9356 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Pend Oreille CountyPend Oreille County Ordinance #2012-2Michael Lithgow, Director, Community Development(509) 447-6457 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
San Juan CountySan Juan County Resolution #4-2012Janice Biletnikoff, Planner III(360) 370-7572 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Skagit CountySkagit County Ordinance #O20110013Betsy Stevenson, Senior Planner(360) 336-9410
Skamania CountySkamania County Resolution #2012-01Heather Watson, Land Use Planner(509) 427-3900 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Spokane CountySpokane County Resolution #11-1190John Pederson, Planning Director(509) 477-3675
Stevens CountyStevens County Resolution #2011-05
Thurston CountyThurston County Resolution #14703Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner(360) 754-3355 X 7010 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Walla Walla CountyWalla Walla County Resolution #12-015Tom Glover, Director, Community Development(509) 524-4711 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Whitman CountyWhitman County Resolution #072645Iris Mayes, Assistant Planner(509) 397-5209 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Yakima CountyYakima County Resolution #14-2012Jefferson Spencer, Assistant Director, Planning Division(509) 574-2300 orThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it