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KCD to Provide Expanded Services for Rural Landowners

Over the next three years the King Conservation District will expand programs and services for rural landowners, including enhanced agricultural drainage and forest management services, “Discovery Farms” citizen science research, and development of a King County agriculture strategic plan.

Funding for the expanded services comes as a result of a settlement associated with a 2011 lawsuit that prompted KCD to adopt a rates and charges approach for funding the organization. In a final court hearing on December 9, 2016, all parties in the suit agreed to amend the agreement to allocate settlement funds to implement four conservation programs to benefit rural landowners and working lands in King County. 

Below is a brief description for each of the programs:

Creek being dredged1. Agricultural Drainage Assistance. Under this program, KCD will invest an additional $500,000 for the KCD Agricultural Drainage Program to support ongoing services of the King County Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP).  The funding will contribute to maintaining an additional five miles of agricultural drainage channels, returning at least 250 acres of farmland to full production, and improving production on another 250 acres.

2. Discovery Farms Demonstration Project. Provide $200,000 to establish an on-farm research site for demonstrations, data collection, and peer-reviewed research on strategies for protecting the environment, especially buffer plantings, while increasing farm production.

2 men looking up at tree3. Small Forest Management and Fire Protection. Provide $500,000 to assist small forest landowners with forest health management and Firewise planning to protect structures. The project will utilize a cooperative approach encouraging landowners to work together to take advantage of economies of scale in forest management and harvesting. The objective of the expanded services will be to protect and enhance the long term social, economic and ecological values of King County forests.

4. King County Agricultural Strategic Plan. Provide $200,000 to develop an Agriculture Strategic Plan to improve the long term productivity of farmland, bring more acres into food production, and increase opportunities for farmers to develop the necessary infrastructure to support or increase their farm business.

Bea Covington, KCD Executive Director, said “The new initiatives were developed in close collaboration with the KCD Advisory Committee and we are grateful for their contributions and support. We look forward to beginning work on these exciting efforts that will reinforce and expand the mission and role of the Conservation District across the county.”