The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) offers counties and agricultural landowners farm-friendly options for protecting fragile and/or hazardous natural resources — referred to as “critical areas” — in places where agricultural activity is conducted.
Rather than leading with regulations and enforcement, counties enrolled in VSP use financial incentives to voluntarily engage agricultural landowners with actions that protect critical areas.
Washington is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Without careful planning, this increase in people and development could diminish our critical areas and farmland.
Our state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that counties develop and follow plans to preserve local critical areas and farmland. This includes ensuring that critical areas are protected or enhanced in places where agricultural activity is conducted.
Counties choose one of two options to meet GMA requirements for protecting critical areas where agricultural activities occur:
If you live in one of the 27 counties that are enrolled in VSP, there may be opportunities for you to receive on-site, expert assistance with developing a Stewardship Plan for your property and paying for new or adjusted land management practices that protect critical areas. There also maybe opportunities to get involved with your county’s VSP plan and progress.
Visit the VSP Directory to see if your county is using VSP. Here you’ll find information about your county VSP work plan and progress reports. Visit your local county VSP website or contact your local VSP administrator to learn more about opportunities to get involved.
Meetings and materials from the VSP State Advisory Committee and VSP Technical Panel are available to you. These groups work at the state-level to establish VSP policies, procedures, and review work plans and reports.