Project Information
On this page:
1 About the grant
2 About the project objectives and work plan
3 About the project partners, team and Review Committee

1. About the grant
Whatcom County was notified on December 21, 2011 of their successful application to the Request for Proposals for the Puget Sound Watershed Protection and Restoration Program: Protecting and Restoring Freshwater Ecosystems. A grant contract with the WA State Department of Commerce was executed on April 10, 2012.

Whatcom County's project is entitled Enhancing water and agriculture in WRIA 1 through a watershed-ag mitigation pilot project, and is being managed by the Agricultural Planning team in the Long Range Planning Division. The project includes funding to develop policy recommendations that enhance both agricultural land and watershed health, and test these through a pilot project. The pilot will include two voluntary enhancement projects with owners of land with agricultural value as well as some significant environmental value.

2. About the project objectives and work plan

The Ag-Watershed Project is examining ways to reward the good things that farmers already do - those beneficial actions that go beyond existing regulation to maintain, repair or protect large-scale watershed processes, while also strengthening agriculture in Whatcom County.  

The project is divided into 2 phases. The first phase - June 2012 through June 2013 - included stakeholder development, review committee formation, procedure and policy development for agricultural land and watershed mitigation, and development of a prototype credit accounting system for measuring and securing value from watershed conservation projects on agricultural land. The second phase - June 2013 through September 2016 - tests the prototype and procedures through pilot project implementation, and synthesizes the lessons learned throughout the process.

The project fact sheets help readers understand the overall objectives of the project and the tools to be tested in the two local pilots.

For a brief overview of the project and anticipated outcomes, see the White Paper developed in partnership with the Whatcom County Executive's office.

3. About the project partners, team and Review Committee

Three agencies substantially contributed to the grant proposal, and are partners with Whatcom County through in-kind contributions of staff time to the project: Whatcom Conservation District, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Whatcom Farm Friends (now the Ag Water Board).

Heather MacKay of FHB Consulting Services, Inc. out of Lynden, WA was chosen to lead the consultant team. A number of other professionals have assisted with various elements of the project, including public outreach, research, and technical aspects.

The Project Review Committee provides advice, technical assistance and policy guidance on the technical work products.
Currently available project documents

Below is a reference guide to key project documents that are final and are currently available on this working documents website, via direct links from the list below or on the Project Documents page. 

All final work products will also be available on the Ag-Watershed project page linked to the Whatcom County Agricultural Program's website.

Project Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet #1: Applying a Natural Resources Marketplace Approach to Achieve Agricultural and Watershed Priorities (PDF)

Fact Sheet #2 Identifying Opportunities to Strengthen Agriculture and Watershed Systems in Whatcom County (PDF)

Fact Sheet #3 Beneficial Actions for Agriculture & Watersheds: Accounting Tools and Protocols (PDF)

Fact Sheet #4 Implementing and Testing a Natural Resources Marketplace Approach: Phase 2 pilots in Whatcom County (PDF)

Fact Sheet #5 Planning, Designing and Implementing Beneficial Actions for Agricultural & Watershed Enhancement (PDF)

Online Story Map (LINK)

Overview documents

Ag-Watershed Project Summary (PDF)

Outreach Program Report (PDF)

Program Strategy Report (PDF)

Marketplace Implementation Report (PDF)

Master list of all project documents

 Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping documents and links

Agriculture-Watershed Pilot Characterization and Mapping Report (PDF)

Bertrand Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

Drayton Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

Laurel Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

North Lynden Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

South Lynden Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

Sumas Watershed Improvement District Agriculture-Watershed Characterization and Mapping Report (LINK)

Online Story Map (LINK)

Tracking, Accounting and Crediting Protocols & Metrics

Prototype Credit Accounting System Report (PDF)

Measuring the agricultural benefits of specific actions using the Ag Metric (PDF)

Options for recognizing the agricultural and watershed benefits of specific actions (PDF)

Pilot Projects: Field Testing and Results

Overview and summary results of Phase 2 pilot projects (PDF)

Overview and results of the Bertrand pilot project (PDF)

Overview and results of the Fishtrap pilot project (PDF)

Pilot reports (all) (ZIP folder for download)

 Agricultural Mitigation

Summary of Agricultural Advisory Committee findings on agricultural mitigation (PDF)

Framework for program design (PDF)

Project Memo: Regulatory constraints for agricultural mitigation (PDF)

Project Memo: Preliminary assessment of drivers of agricultural land conversion in Whatcom County (PDF)

Research report: Options for agricultural mitigation (PDF)

Contextual documents and links

Natural Resources Marketplace (NRM) Working Group [link not currently active]

NRM Technical report: Towards-a-natural-resources-marketplace-August-2010 (PDF)

NRM Final grant report: Towards-a-natural-resources-marketplace-June-2011 (PDF)

Double Ditch/Pepin Creek crediting example (PDF)

Fourmile Creek buffer planting summary report (2013) (PDF) 

Whatcom County Agricultural Program website (LINK)

WRIA1 Watershed Management Project website (LINK)

Administrative documents

Grant Contract with Washington State Department of Commerce (PDF)

White Paper with Project Description (PDF)

Site map

1. Home
2. Contact
3. Project Documents
4. News, project-related articles and presentations


We have made a number of changes to this website.
Final documents are being uploaded to the official project page on the Whatcom County Agricultural Program website but will still be available on the Project Documents page here. This working website will remain live as a location for information on the project and links to final and contextual documents.

Project-related news, presentations and articles generated after the end of the project will be accessible on this website. Click on the "News" tab.

(September 29, 2017)

Older news:
  • The online story map of the agriculture-watershed characterization results is available. Link here:  (Sep 29, 2016)

  • News and information on local agriculture can be found in the Whatcom County Agriculture Program newsletters.
  • The Ag-Watershed Project was extended to allow for the application of project learning in two new tasks: (5) Extended ag-watershed characterization and mapping, and (6) Options for policy framework for agricultural mitigation
  • Review Committee documents from Phase 1 have been archived on a separate site in order to save space.  Direct link to the archive site <here>.