Voluntary Stewardship Program
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.
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 five types of critical areas, including places where critical areas occur on agricultural lands.
• Plans also preserve farmland by preventing urban growth from crowding out agriculture.
Supporting agriculture and natural resources
• Before 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 on farmland.
• Ferry County's VSP plan was approved in 2018.
The five critical areas that Ferry County must protect:
2. Frequently flooded areas
3. Critical aquifer recharge areas
4. Geologically hazardous areas
5. Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas (emphasis on anadromous fish)
Identify if your property has any of the 5 critical areas listed using our MAPPING TOOL in the VSP Updates and Resources Section BELOW.
Help us avoid GMA regulation by sharing the stewardship you're already doing voluntarily. Simple use our FORM BELOW to share your practices with our technical staff. All shared stewardship data is confidential under RCW 36.70A
If you find yourself in need of improvements, our technical staff will work with you to produce an Individual Stewardship Plan at NO CHARGE and connect you with financial resources as needed.
Keep up to date on VSP progress by checking the resources on this page, and by attending quarterly VSP work group meetings.
You're already protecting a critical area? Perfect, tell us about it by filling out this quick form by clicking below.
VSP Updates & Resources
We've published articles, made handouts, postcards and displays! Check them out!
Coming Soon Critical Areas Mapping Tool
Unsure if you have critical areas on your land? Soon you can use a new map tool and find out!
Use the search in the top left corner bar to enter your property address.
Use the critical area "Layer List," to urn specific critical area layers on and off. Note which critical areas are on or near your property.
Additional tools that can be used to change the map view to satellite imagery, measure a distance, or print a section of the map. Contact us if you get stuck!