Voluntary Stewardship Program
COMMUNITY-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS FOR HEALTHY RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE
The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) is a collaborative process that helps our community preserve healthy landscapes and strong farms today and for the future. Through VSP, Franklin County and our agricultural landowners are offered farm-friendly options for complying with state requirements to protect 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. Franklin County is one of 28 counties in the state that enrolled in the VSP process.
Franklin CD's Role in VSP
Franklin Conservation District (FCD) is the lead entity to manage Franklin County's VSP. As the lead entity, FCD is responsible for outreach, conservation practice documentation, and landowner assistance.
Instead of enacting further critical area regulations on agricultural lands, VSP provides an alternative approach to protecting critical areas by promoting, implementing, and evaluating voluntary measures while promoting agriculture in Franklin County. Franklin CD works with landowners to develop voluntary, site-specific stewardship plans to protect critical areas on agricultural lands while maintaining and enhancing the viability of agriculture.
What Are Critical Areas?
The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires all cities and counties in Washington to adopt regulations protecting “critical areas” in order to preserve the natural environment, wildlife habitats, and sources of fresh drinking water.
The statute defines five types of critical areas — click on each one to learn more: