VSP for new counties

What is VSP?

The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) creates a non-regulatory approach to meeting the goals of the state of Washington's Growth Management Act by protecting critical areas on agricultural lands.

Washington is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Without careful planning, this increase in people and development could diminish our critical areas and farmland. Our state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that counties develop and follow plans to preserve local critical areas and farmland. This includes ensuring that critical areas are protected or enhanced in places where agricultural activity is conducted.  

VSP provides opportunities for landowners to avoid future regulation by implementing voluntary, site-specific practices that help to protect critical areas while also promoting agricultural viability.

Counties choose one of two options to meet GMA requirements for protecting critical areas where agricultural activities occur:

  1. Enforce regulations on agricultural landowners. Prior to 2011, this was the only option available to counties.
  2. Use the VSP approach to engage agricultural landowners with actions they can take voluntarily to protect critical areas.
Info sheet for non-VSP counties

SSB 5353 Reopens the Voluntary Stewardship Program

SSB 5353 (effective date 7/23/23) reopens the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) to the 12 counties that did not originally opt-in to VSP in 2011-2012. County staff and/or elected officials are encouraged to meet with SCC staff to learn more about VSP. To set up a meeting, please contact SCC VSP Coordinator, Bill Eller.

Webinar: Reopening VSP to the 12 Non-VSP Counties

A guidance document previously explains the opt-in process, reflecting the changes in the VSP statute that were made by SSB 5353. Find the full guidance document for non-VSP counties here.

27 of Washington's 39 Counties are Enrolled in VSP

Check out the VSP Directory to learn about other county programs. You’ll find information about county VSP work plans, progress reports, current projects, and links to VSP County websites and social media.

View the VSP Directory

Opportunities to get Involved!

VSP Statewide Advisory Committee (SAC) and VSP Technical Panel (TP) work at the state-level to establish VSP policies, procedures, and review work plans and reports.

Event Calendar