Ferry County Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP)








































Ferry Conservation District led the charge in developing, implementing, and monitoring Washington State’s Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) in Ferry County. After many months of work, a work group consisting of Ferry County landowners, the Ferry County Planning Department, a Ferry County Commissioner, and chaired by the Ferry Conservation District completed the planning process.  The Ferry County VSP Work Plan, prepared by Anchor QEA, was approved in November 2018. (To read Ferry County's Work Plan, click here.)  


The VSP provides an alternative approach for counties to address our state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requirements. The program uses a watershed-based, collaborative stewardship planning process, and relies on incentive-based practices for protecting critical areas, promoting viable agriculture, and encouraging cooperation among diverse stakeholders.




In 2007, the State Legislature tasked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center with facilitating a “common ground” solution that would ensure productive agriculture in our state, protect critical areas, and resolve long-standing controversies related to the GMA. Following a three-year collaborative process involving state and local governments, tribes, the agricultural community, and environmental interests, the Ruckelshaus Center presented the framework for the VSP, which uses incentive-based programs to support BOTH critical areas and viable agriculture. The Legislature created VSP within the Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC) in 2011 (RCW 36.70A.705). In 2015 they provided funding that allowed all 27 counties that opted-in to VSP to move forward with the program.


Moving Forward


The Washington State Conservation Commission has published a web page to help Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) counties develop, implement, and monitor their VSP work plans. The current focus of the web page is to provide VSP counties with general information and links to mapping data on three critical areas (wetlands, critical aquifer recharge areas, and frequently flooded areas), as well as information on clean water standards and the shoreline management act.





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