The goals of the Snohomish Conservation District’s (SCD) programs are to ensure thriving farms that provide healthy local food for our families, restore rivers for our salmon, and provide clean water for our wildlife and recreational enjoyment. For over 75 years, SCD has served as a trusted resource to urban and rural landowners to work towards these goals - one property at a time.
For the past seven years, the District has received an assessment from Snohomish County landowners ($5 per parcel plus $0.05 per acre). This has led to many successes and stories from the field, including:
- $13.7 million of funding that has been leveraged since 2010
- Collaborating at a local and regional level, with more than 140 organizations
- Installation of over 700 water quality practices on agricultural properties
- Restoration and reforestation of over 334 acres
- Installation of over 1,500 stormwater practices on urban properties
- Engaging more than 80,000 youth in natural resource education
With rapid urbanization comes an increased pressure on our natural resources. Requests for our services from constituents, partners and local jurisdictions have also increased. To help the District meet this demand, we are proposing a move from an ‘assessment’ to a ‘rates and charges’ structure. Other conservation districts are also adopting this form of funding which benefits landowners by calculating rates based on the direct and indirect benefits to different types of land uses. This would increase the value of our services to $9-10 per parcel plus up to $0.10 per acre – based on land use for both urban and rural properties.
The Power of Partnership
We would not be able to do this work without our partners. Our Rates and Charges proposal allows us to invest in and support the work of our local partners such as:
- WSU Extension – Snohomish County
- Cities (Phase II NDPES permitees)
- Local non-profit organizations
- Schools and Higher Education Institutions
- Sustainable Lands Strategy
- Puget Sound Conservation Districts
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Cost Effective and Accountable
SCD is a cost-effective and accountable organization, and the recent winner of the State Auditor’s Stewardship Award for our ‘outstanding accomplishment in the stewardship of public resources as we pursue the shared goal of government that works better, costs less, and earns greater public trust.’
More Work to Do
Through its five year Strategic Plan, SCD will deepen its existing programs and expand its services in the following ways:
Farm Planning Program
- Support farmland protection and preservation.
- Mentor and support the next generation of farmers.
- Increase our landowner financial assistance program from $15,000 to $50,000 annually.
- Expand the farm equipment loan and sharing program.
- Complete an Agriculture Resilience Plan that provides farmers with risk management tools and leads to landscape-scale projects to improve resilience to flooding and climate changes.
- Expand the Free Trees program and invest in urban and rural reforestation efforts to improve salmon and wildlife habitat.
- Increase the number of acres of riparian areas planted from 60 to 75 acres per year.
- Launch a Living with Beavers program to protect upland wetlands and reduce impacts to downstream farms and properties.
- Increase the ability to construct large restoration projects (culverts, crossings, etc.) that benefit both farms and fish.
Community Conservation Program – Stormwater
- Expand the one-on-one assistance model to the neighborhood scale.
- Continue to be a regional innovator in community-based, green stormwater infrastructure (rain gardens, rain catchment, and natural yard care).
- Expand services like DePave to commercial properties, businesses, multi-family housing, churches and schools.
- Increase the technical and financial support to jurisdictions and stormwater permitees.
- Increase landowner financial assistance from $10,000 to $65,000 annually.
- Accelerate action in high priority watersheds.
Lawns to Lettuce Program
- Connect urban residents to local food and raise the profile of Snohomish County agriculture.
- Increase technical assistance to community-based urban farming.
- Expand investment in community gardens from $5,000 to $25,000 annually.
- Support local organizations like Farmer Frog, Project Harvest and WSU Extension.
Education and Outreach Programs
- Amplify reach through online learning, video presentations and social networking through the Better Ground outreach initiative.
- Double the number of stewardship and volunteer opportunities.
- Launch an agricultural education track within the Sound Education Program.
- Continue to invest in demonstration projects, hands-on learning events and other community building models.