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News Release

June 22 Deadline for Whatcom County Watershed Project

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (May 18, 2020) – Whatcom County Planning & Development Services announces a June 22, 2020 application deadline for the Whatcom County Working Lands Conserving Watersheds project. Funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program- Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

ACEP-ALE is a voluntary, technical and financial assistance program through NRCS designed to protect agricultural land by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. NRCS is providing financial assistance to Whatcom County in order to purchase agricultural conservation easements.

Whatcom County is accepting applications immediately. These applications will be processed through the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program. The PDR program compensates property owners for the value of their unused development rights through the placement of permanent conservation easements.

Interested landowners should contact the PDR Program Administrator at 360-778-5956 or Although this sign-up is being conducted by Whatcom County, all requirements of the ACEP-ALE program must still be met. Each person listed on the deed of the property must establish themselves as a USDA customer and complete all Farm Service Agency (FSA) eligibility requirements. For more information about those requirements, contact the local NRCS field office at 914 Citadel Drive, Everson, WA or 360-318-8121.

This is the first sign-up for this program. The project was one of several high impact projects across the country that was approved for funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in 2018. For more information, visit the PDR Program webpage at