Whatcom County's population has increased significantly in the last two decades, resulting in an increased loss of our working lands. In order to protect our vital farmland, Whatcom County established the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program in 2002. The program expanded in 2018 to also protect working forestland and important ecosystem areas as secondary goals, with the primary focus on farmland preservation. In 2021, the program changed names to be the Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program (CEP).
The CEP is a voluntary program that compensates property owners for the value of their unused development rights and protects the land through the placement of permanent conservation easements. Conservation easements are perpetual contract agreements where a landowner agrees to protect the values present within the property, such as working farmlands, working forestlands, and important ecosystems. By protecting these areas we are protecting local economies and local ecosystems for current and future generations.
Funding for conservation easements comes from Whatcom County's Conservation Futures Fund, as well as federal, state, and local grants.
The program is guided by an oversight committee composed of farmers, local citizens and business people. As we continue to protect valuable natural areas and working lands, the oversight committee focuses on six conservation goals (see below). These goals serve as a framework to ensure the program is focused on protecting lands that provide the greatest community and public benefit.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the Conservation Easement Program, please contact us today to learn more.
The Conservation Easement Program Oversight Committee provides oversight and evaluation for the Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program, which will enhance the protection of the county's farmland, enhance the long-term viability of agricultural enterprises within the county and provide public benefit by retaining properties in permanent resource use. This committee's role is to advise the Council in the selection of eligible lands offered for Conservation Easement acquisition.
There are 7 members of the Conservation Easement Program Oversight Committee:
|October 28, 2022||Agenda|
|September 23, 2022||Agenda||Cancelled|
|July 22, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|June 24, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|May 27, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|April, 22, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|March 25, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|February 25, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|January 28, 2022||Agenda||Minutes|
|December 3, 2021||Agenda||Minutes|
|October 22, 2021||Agenda||Minutes|
|September 24, 2021||Agenda||Minutes|
|Paul Schissler, chair||Heather MacKay-Brown, vice-chair|
|Sean D'Agnolo||Burr Neely|
|Jen Glyzinski||Jeffrey Margolis|