Ditch work: Farmers can learn about maintenance at Preston workshop
March 16, 2012 · Updated 9:47 AM
As part of an ongoing commitment to support agriculture’s vibrant presence in the community while sustaining a healthy environment, King County is offering workshops with free assistance to farmers who need help with field drainage issues related to fish and wildlife regulations.
The local workshop is 7 p.m. March 19 at Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E.
“We want to help landowners maintain properly functioning drainage systems affordably and in a way that considers fish and wildlife issues,” said Mark Isaacson, Director of King County’s Water and Land Resources Division.
Maintaining farm field drainage ditches has become complicated over the past 20 years because many of the ditches – which are often altered streams – are home to chinook salmon and other species protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
At the workshops, staff from the County’s agriculture program and the King Conservation District will show participants how to get free, coordinated services from King County and the King Conservation District so that maintenance projects can be done in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Workshop topics include project timelines, best management practices, landowner costs, farm plan requirements, and how to obtain the necessary permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
King County has revised its Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP) in coordination with state and federal agencies so farmers don’t have to be concerned about additional or unexpected regulatory requirements. The County is also working with King County Agriculture Commissioners to track the new effort and ensure its success.