Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

What do VSP and Orca whales have in common? They both require good water quality to flourish!

Water – it is one of earth’s most valuable natural resources.  In this article, we explore some ways to retain it in a low rainfall region that receives an average annual precipitation range from only 6 – 11 inches.


Summer storms have brought heavy rainfall events.  The run-off carved out gullies in or near agriculture fields and washed away productive soil and precious water. Certain conservation practices may help your operation to alleviate such extreme run-off events in the future.


Field erosion from spring melt in 1989

Examples of conservation practices for water retention include: 

  • Cover Crops
  • Grassed Waterway
  • Conservation Cover (includes CRP)
  • Residue and Tillage Management, No-till
  • Critical Area Planting
  • Residue and Tillage Management, Reduced-till
  • Field Border
  • Terrace

These are just some examples of conservation practices that can improve water quality, soil health, and contribute to the Douglas County Voluntary Stewardship Program. The Douglas County VSP aims to protect critical areas where they intersect with agricultural activities while maintaining and/or improving the long-term viability of agriculture through voluntary, incentive-based measures.


How will this help? Installing water quality conservation practices will directly benefit agriculture lands as productive soils and water run-off will be reduced, leading to vigorous crops or grass production.  In turn, these practices can improve salmon habitat by providing cooler and clearer water during their migration and spawning events, thereby supporting the next generation of salmon. Puget Sound’s resident orca population will benefit from a bountiful stock of salmon on which to feed.  In addition, decreasing sediment into Washington’s streams may increase the aesthetic and recreational value for human use along our riverbeds.

VSP’s Technical Service Providers can offer assistance by providing your operation with information or help to find cost-share programs to install these conservation practices.
Foster Creek CD (509) 888-6372, South Douglas Conservation District (509) 745-9160, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (509) 745-8561 are the primary VSP Technical Service Providers in our county. 

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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD