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Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program in Washington protecting National Historic Reserve

Highlights in Conservation icon

Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program in Washington protecting National Historic Reserve

A picture of the prime farmland at Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve.

A picture of the prime farmland at Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve.

Location icon
Island County

Project Summary icon
In 2007, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) signed a cooperative agreement with the Whidbey Camano Island Land Trust to acquire development rights for land located in the Ebey's Reserve Farmland, National Historic Reserve of Island County.

Conservation Partners icon
NRCS, Whidbey Camano Land Trust, Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, National Park Service (NPS), Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve Trust Board, Whidbey Island Conservation District (WICD).

Resource Challenges icon
The challenge is to keep historic and productive farmland from being subdivided and developed into residential home sites.

Conservation Program Used icon
The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP), administered by NRCS, was used for this project.  The identified area was ranked against other applicants in the state in 2007 through a "Request for Proposal" process that takes place every year in April. The ranking process takes into account several factors that are unique about the applications, acres of prime and unique farmland, how close to urban areas, how much development pressure in the area, viable farming operation exists on the land, proximity to protected areas, cost of the easement, dedication of the entity to managing protected properties, and if the parcel(s) contains a national or state historic cultural resource.

Extra "ranking points" are received for land containing historical or archaeological resources listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Ebey's Reserve has such a listing. It is has been identified as a high protection priority by the National Park Service and Ebey's Reserve Trust Board. No applications in the past have included this unique land eligibility factor. The major factor in this program is that the easement must be purchased from private landowners and must protect the land in perpetuity from development.

Innovations and Highlights icon
The FRPP has continued to grow in recent years with a current budget of over $1.5 million.  There is never has enough funding to acquire all the parcels that are nominated. The ability of this program is to preserve farmland, especially lands of cultural value, into perpetuity is definitely a good use of tax payer dollars for generations to come.

Results and Accomplishments icon
A challenge for the partners is to acquire identified parcels in the agreement before the value of land continues to increase from development pressure. The trust has established a priority order for purchases and if the identified land owners are willing participants, then FRPP funds will be used. NRCS and the partners are committed to acquiring at least six properties in the next 12 months. Future acquisitions through NRCS are dependent on funding and successful ranking.

Contact icon
Jeff Harlow, Program Liaison, (360) 704-7784

NRCS, Spring 2008