Voluntary Stewardship Program
The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) is a non-regulatory approach to meeting the goals of the state of Washington's Growth Management Act by protecting critical areas on agricultural lands (Revised Code of Washington [RCW] 36.70A.030).
The VSP provides opportunities for landowners to avoid future regulation by implementing voluntary, site-specific practices that help to protect critical areas while also promoting agricultural viability.
Five Types of Critical Areas:
Critical aquifer recharge areas
Fish and wildlife habitat
Frequently flooded areas
Geologically hazardous areas
Who is Affected?
Benton County landowners utilizing their property for agricultural purposes may be affected if any of the five designated critical areas are located on the property. Benton Conservation District will assist landowners with determining if critical areas are present.
Benton County's VSP Work Group was tasked with determining measurable benchmarks to gauge success of the program. The benchmarks are based on critical area conditions on the effective date of legislation, July 22, 2011 and are divided based upon the three main watersheds in the county: Alkali-Squilchuck, Lower Yakima, and Rock-Glade.
Failure to meet the goals and objectives of the VSP will result in mandatory protection measures.
Learn More and Participate
Benton Conservation District (BCD) has been designated as the lead entity for the VSP technical assistance and implementation. BCD will provide the following services to interested landowners:
A site map of your property showing any critical areas that are present
A checklist where landowners can indicate desired practices and practices that are currently being implemented
Technical assistance and potential cost-share funding for practice implementation
Please contact us to learn more about the program and how to participate. Additional information can be found at the links below.