Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP)
In Washington state all counties are required to identify and protect critical areas on agricultural lands. The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) offers a voluntary, incentive based approach for counties to meet that requirement by encouraging locally-led conservation programs and periodic reporting of stewardship practice implementation.
Benefits of VSP:
Agricultural producers are NOT regulated by their level of protection of critical areas.
VSP is reported at a watershed scale and there are no identifying landowner characteristics (counties not in VSP report at a parcel scale).
Promotes agricultural viability.
Okanogan CD staff can provide assistance in developing stewardship plans for individual properties.
What is VSP?
In 2011, Okanogan County chose to participate in the Voluntary Stewardship Program, an incentive-based alternative approach to the Growth Management Act (GMA). VSP has two primary objectives: protect critical areas on agricultural land and maintain and improve the long-term viability of agriculture. VSP is NOT a set of new regulations; its purpose is to focus and maximize voluntary incentive programs that already exist. Participation is voluntary and the program only applies where agricultural activities and critical areas overlap.
Okanogan County stakeholders completed a VSP Work Plan which was approved by the State of Washington Conservation Commission in 2018. The plan offers a locally driven, grassroots approach to managing interactions between critical areas and agricultural activities, rather than 'one-size-fits-all' regulation. Also available: Okanogan County VSP Biennial Report. For more information, email us.
This checklist helps summarize stewardship practices and goals in the County
The workgroup meets quarterly to provide input and make decisions for the VSP work plan
Learn more about what it means to be on the VSP workgroup, apply today!