predators adidas Critical and agriculture lands stewardship plan open for input
The program, created by the Legislature in 2011, is intended to stem lawsuits and challenges related to agriculture activities when they intersect with lands defined as critical areas by the state’s Growth Management Act.
Critical areas include frequently flooded areas, aquifer recharge areas, wetlands, wildlife habitat conservation areas and geologically hazardous areas, such as lands prone to erosion. Because wind erosion affects 90 percent of agricultural land in Walla Walla County, most farmers and ranchers have at least one critical area on their farm, Hadley said.
One of the promises of the program for landowners is protection from being forced to take land out of production or establish and use practices mandated by outside agencies. It is also intended to protect counties from challenges and lawsuits over such rules as buffers between working farmlands and streams.