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Text "VOLUNTARY STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM" over a hay-like background.

What Is The VSP?

A map showing 27 counties participating in the Voluntary Stewardship Program.

VSP is a collaborative process that helps Washington communities ensure healthy landscapes and strong farms for the future. Through VSP, counties work with local residents to develop a plan to manage growth, protect critical areas, and maintain viable agriculture.

Managing population growth and development 

  • Our state’s Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW) requires all counties to develop plans for managing population growth and development.
  • The plans must identify and protect critical areas (see left sidebar), including critical areas on agricultural lands.
  • Plans also preserve farmland by preventing urban growth from crowding out agriculture. ​

Supporting agriculture and natural resources.. Voluntary > Regulatory

  • Prior to 2011, the main tool for counties to ensure protection of critical areas on agricultural land was regulation.
  • Regulation of agricultural landowners can threaten farm viability and lead to legal battles.
  • VSP was created in 2011 to give counties the option to use locally driven watershed plans and voluntary, incentive-based tools to protect critical areas. Washington State Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP)

​The five critical areas that Pend Oreille County must protect:

  1. Wetlands
  2. Frequently flooded areas
  3. Critical aquifer recharge areas
  4. Geologically hazardous areas
  5. Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas (emphasis on anadromous fish)

Get Involved 

 Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4
Identify if your property has any of the 5 critical areas listed using our MAPPING TOOL in the VSP Updates and Resources Section BELOW.Help us avoid GMA regulation by sharing the stewardship you're already doing voluntarily. Simple use our FORM BELOW to share your practices with our technical staff. All shared stewardship data is confidential under RCW 36.70AIf you find yourself in need of improvements, our technical staff will work with you to produce an Individual Stewardship Plan at NO CHARGE and connect you with financial resources as needed.Keep up to date on VSP progress by checking the resources on this page, and by attending quarterly VSP work group meetings.