The Voluntary Stewardship Program

The VSP is a collaborative process that helps Washington communities ensure healthy landscapes and strong farms and ranches into the future. The VSP workgroup identifies stewardship strategies for agricultural viability and protecting and/or restoring five critical areas: wetlands, frequently flooded areas, fish and wildlife conservation areas, critical aquifer recharge areas and geologically hazardous areas on private lands (See FAQs section for more info on critical areas).

Interested landowners can reach out to Conservation Districts, Whitman County Cattlemen’s Association, Whitman County Farm Bureau, or the Whitman County Association of Wheat Growers for questions about technical assistance, potential future cost share or self-reporting in the Whitman County VSP Checklist for conservation work they want to share and identifying future stewardship strategies and cost-share for their farm or ranching operations.

Request additional information

Whitman County VSP can only be successful with the voluntary participation by landowners within the County!  We need your help to provide more technical assistance and potential cost-share for stewardship practices. Voluntary stewardship practices demonstrate how individual actions are collectively maintaining agricultural viability while protecting critical areas. 

Be proud of your voluntary stewardship achievements, share your conservation work using the link below:

Share Your Stewardship

VSP Work Group

Work Group meetings are open to the Public.

The VSP Work Group, which includes agriculture, environmental, and other stakeholders, was formed to develop the VSP Work Plan for Whitman County. The Work Group will also oversee Work Plan implementation. See RCW 36.70A.720 for a complete list of duties of the Work Group and requirements for the VSP Work Plan.

See Meetings and News for the Work Group’s meetings schedule.

VSP Work Plan

Goals of VSP

VSP includes the following goals (RCW 36.70A.700):

  • Promote plans that:
    • Protect and enhance critical areas where agricultural activities are conducted
    • Maintain and improve the long‐term viability of agriculture
    • Reduce the conversion of farmland to other uses
  • Use voluntary incentive programs to encourage good riparian and ecosystem stewardship strategies as an alternative to historic approaches used to protect critical areas
  • Use existing resources and programs (local, county, state, and federal) to maximum extent practicable to achieve program goals
  • Encourage and foster a spirit of cooperation and partnership among county, tribal, environmental, and agricultural interests to better assure program success
  • Improve compliance with other laws designed to protect water quality and fish habitat
  • Rely on voluntary stewardship actions as the primary method of protecting critical areas and not require the cessation of agricultural activities

VSP Overview and Checklist.

VSP Process Flowchart

1.) County Opts In: Completed
Funding is provided Form Local VSP Work Group
2.) Develop Work Plan: Completed
VSP Work Group develops Work Plan Work Plan identifies critical areas and agricultural activities Work Plan includes measurable benchmarks for program
3.) State Review: Completed
Work Plan reviewed by the State VSP Technical Panel Upon approval, sent to VSP Work Group for implementation
4.) VSP Implementation: Currently ongoing
VSP Work Group implements Work Plan Focused outreach conducted with landowners to develop farm plans protecting critical areas Two year status updates
5.) Five-Year Status Reports
VSP Work Group must report on progress every 5 years Must show progress on benchmarks or implement adaptive management approaches