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Voluntary Stewardship Program

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

Critical Areas

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

How Do I Get Involved? What Does Participation Look Like?

You already are!

As members of Ferry County, residents are already part of VSP. Residents have lots of conservation efforts already underway- they just aren't getting the credit they deserve! By filling out and submitting the checklist below, the Conservation District (Ferry County's VSP Coordinator) can help you get credit for your conservation projects. We can even help you fund future projects! Additionally, to increase involvement in VSP, consider reaching out to your commodity group representative and share ideas on new practices. If you have any questions or would like more information on how you're already involved, contact the VSP Coordinator at the Ferry Conservation District.

For New Conservation Practices:

Step 1

Identify if your property has any of the 5 critical areas listed here.

Step 2

Help us avoid GMA regulation by sharing the stewardship you're already doing voluntarily. Simply click on our FORM BELOW to share your practices with our technical staff. All shared stewardship data is confidential under RCW  36.70A

Step 3

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. 

Step 4

Keep up to date on VSP progress by checking the resources on this page, and by attending quarterly VSP work group meetings. 

Ferry County VSP

Plan Implementation Progress


We'd love to hear from you

(509) 775-3473

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History of VSP at a Glance... 

  • ​​Before 2011, the main tool for counties to ensure the 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 ag. land. ​​

Regulatory VS NON-Regulatory

​VSP is a NON-regulatory, incentive-based approach to protecting critical areas—think water, wetlands, and stream banks—on agricultural land while maintaining agricultural viability. It was a law passed by the legislature as an alternative to the Growth Management Act which is regulatory and defines how agriculture will deal with critical areas and is the same for every county in the state. The Ferry County Commissioners joined VSP in 2015. Local volunteers who were farmers and ranchers wrote the VSP plan that was approved by the state in


If you have agricultural land, what does that mean for you?

It means if you are a good steward of your property you are helping Ferry County stay out of the “One Size Fits All” Growth Management Act. To do that, you can’t keep your good stewardship a secret. The Ferry Conservation District tracks good stewardship in the county and reports it anonymously to the Washington State Conservation Commission.

What do you have to do?

Contact the Ferry Conservation District and tell them about all the good things you are doing on your agricultural land. It’s as easy as that. There’s even funding possible to help you do more of it.

Consider joining the VSP Work Group and help shape the future of VSP. It’s four meetings a year and all the cookies you can eat. Seriously, it’s a great program and needs all the help it can get.

Conservation Practices

  • Livestock and Range Management:

    • Reseeding Mixed-Use Pasture Land (e.g., provide or improve forages for livestock)

    • Prescribed Grazing (e.g., rotational grazing)

    • Spring Development

    • Watering Facility (e.g., off-site watering tank)

  • Forest Understory Management:

    • Tree/Shrub Pruning

    • Woody Residue/Forest Slash Treatment (e.g., prescribed burning)

    • Forest Stand Improvement (e.g., thinning)

  • Nutrient and Pest Management

    • Pest Management (e.g., weed spraying)

  • Soil Management:

    • Conservation Crop Rotation

  • Irrigation Management:

    • Irrigation System, Sprinkler (e.g., change from handline to a pivot)

    • Irrigation Water Management (e.g., adjust to more efficient sprinkler heads)

  • Habitat Management:

    • Riparian Forest Buffer (e.g., the vegetative area around a body of water)

    • Access Control (e.g., fencing off area from animals)

    • Tree/Shrub Establishment (e.g., reseeding)

    • Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats (e.g., wildlife brush pile)

    • Fish and Wildlife Structure (e.g., removal of fish barrier)

    • Streambank and Shoreline Protection (e.g., root wads along streams)

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