Voluntary Stewardship Program
Share your Stewardship!
The Columbia County Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) can only be successful with YOUR help! Share your stewardship information and practices and help drive the success of the VSP in Columbia County.
The Columbia County VSP is an alternative approach to regulatory critical area protection. Through the VSP, local producers and landowners are able to voluntarily participate in and share stewardship practices that protect critical areas as an alternative to regulatory the regulatory approach of meeting the State's Growth Management Act goals.
Upcoming and Recent Meeting Materials
The next regular VSP meeting will take place on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 8:30 a.m. at the Planning Department Conference Room. The agenda and materials will be made available here prior to the meeting.
Cost-share and technical assistance. The Columbia County VSP Work Group has set aside $170,000 in grant funds this biennium to directly benefit area producers through cost-share programs and technical assistance. For more information, view the Columbia County Cost-share Policy (PDF).
The VSP Work Group is currently accepting cost-share project applications. If you have an idea for a project that will enhance a critical area while increasing ag viability please email Dena Martin or Aneesha Dieu for an application, or call 509 382-4676 for more information. You can also learn more about cost-share projects and access applications and more at the Conservation District VSP page.
Learn more with our VSP brochure (PDF). Want printed copies? Stop by the Planning Department and pick some up to share, and get more information.
We have submitted our 2021 biennial report to the Conservation Commission. This report provides an update on progress since the adoption and implementation of the VSP Work Plan. Previous reports including the 2019 biennial report and the 5-Year Status Report can be found HERE.
Columbia County VSP
The Columbia County Voluntary Stewardship Program Work Plan was accepted by the State on July 27! This acceptance is the result of many months of hard work. View the Approval Letter (PDF).
What is VSP?
The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) is an optional, incentive-based approach to protecting critical areas while promoting agricultural viability. The five critical areas are wetlands, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, aquifer recharge tables, and fish and wildlife conservation areas.
Who created this VSP plan?
Columbia County Planning and Building, along with coordinator Don Brigham, worked alongside the VSP Work Group to create the plan. The Work Group is comprised of local landowners, farmers, agency representatives, and other stakeholders.
Interested in seeing the VSP Survey (PDF)?
The Columbia County VSP is guided by a volunteer work group comprised of local stakeholders. The work group is currently comprised of the following individuals:
- Roland Schirman, Landowner/Producer
- Tom Schirm, WDFW (advisory)
- Terry Bruegman, CCD, retired
- Joy Eckhoff, Agronomist, retired
- DJ Frame, Landowner/Producer
- Rick Turner, Landowner/Rancher
- Aneesha Dieu, CCD Staff
- Val Turner, CCD Staff
- Ben Kleist, CCD Staff
- Dena Martin, Planning Staff
- Marty Hall, BOCC (advisory)
We are always seeking new involvement. If you are interested in working on the VSP work group, please send an email or call Dena at 382-4676 for more information.
Columbia County Planning & Building and Columbia Conservation District are working jointly to implement the plan. Voluntary stewardship efforts and potential projects are documented through Individual Stewardship Plan surveys. Survey information is held confidential through the Conservation District. Success of the local program is dependent on landowner participation. To fill out a survey or to learn more about Individual Stewardship Plans stop by the Planning Department at 114 S 2nd Street, Dayton.
Weed Board - VSP Starthistle Spraying Contract
In 2017 Columbia County and the Columbia County Weed Board entered into an interlocal agreement to aid in VSP Implementation. By partnering with the Weed Boards' already successful starthistle eradication program, and by offering additional monies through the VSP, an approximate 4,500 additional acres were signed up to be sprayed. This project was an absolute success! And did you know, that reducing invasive/nuisance species benefits four of the five critical areas within Columbia County? Check out the Work Plan (PDF) for more specific information, including Table 5-3 on page 68.
Check out the VSP - Weed Board ILA (PDF) for more specific information on the contract.