Salmon-Safe farms

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Southard, Ellen; Bahr, Amelia; Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)
Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.
Fresh Water Studies; Life Sciences; Marine Biology; Natural Resources and Conservation; Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
artifact description
Stewardship Partners recognizes the crucial role farmers play in the protection of our watersheds and salmon populations, leading us to implement the Salmon-Safe program in Washington in 2004 to support landowners who are promoting and practicing sustainable land management to combat environmental degradation. To date, we have added more than 100 different Washington State farms and vineyards to the program — ensuring the restoration and maintenance of watershed health across tens of thousands of agricultural acres. Since the major salmon streams in the Puget Sound basin flow through the most productive agricultural valleys, conservation efforts aimed at protecting salmon and improving watershed health must engage farmers to encourage conservation and restoration practices as part of overall sustainable farming efforts. However, farmers face severe difficulties due to the decline of farming infrastructure, competition from consolidated agribusiness, increasing regulatory control, flooding and urban growth pressures forcing the sale of prime farmland. These struggles often make it difficult and unappealing for farmers to participate in conservation even when they are ideologically inclined to. For this reason, incentive-based programs that promote both farming and conservation are necessary. Salmon-Safe advances the conservation efforts of private landowners by providing market-based incentives to establish healthy watershed farming practices as a means to promote local sustainable agriculture, increase marketing opportunities, and develop collaborative partnerships between farmers, organizations, and agencies involved in salmon recovery efforts. This presentation will highlight the overall Salmon-Safe program and its strategies, while highlighting examples of the farms we work with, the strategies they have adopted as part of their Salmon-Safe certification (i.e riparian habitat restoration) and how Stewardship Partners is able to leverage partnerships to promote sustainable agriculture and local businesses.