Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Cows Meet Clams- New Collaboration in the Snoqualmie Valley


The Snoqualmie Valley is one step closer to ensuring that it remains picturesque for years to come with news of the National Estuary Program /EPA funding to establish an agricultural and forestry production, marketing and tourism training program to help keep working farms and forests in the Snoqualmie Valley from being converted to development.

The grant, "When Cows Meet Clams" includes providing training to expand the number of working farms and forests practicing sustainable approaches while raising awareness about the important role working lands have on quality of life, economic development and why cows (farming) have positive implications for clams (Puget Sound).

"It's easy to lose sight of the connection between farms and forests at higher elevations and the issues we're having at sea level with Puget Sound," said Heidi Siegelbaum, principal at Calyx Sustainable Tourism and one of the project leads, reflecting on the use of whole community and watershed approaches. Calyx’s concept paper on farm and forest tourism was the basis for the grant and builds on a previous Cascade Harvest Coalition and Northwest Natural Resource Group project, Puget Sound Grown, Taking Root in the Northwest. Both organizations are strategic working partners and bring years of relevant work with both farm and forest landowners to the project.

The area is vulnerable due to exploding land values and encroaching suburban development. The area is part of the larger agriculturally and forest-rich King County which is home to 1,790 farms representing 49,285 acres, and 15,600 acres of non-industrial private forest land.

The King Conservation District, the program manager and grant recipient, will receive the funds through the Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington State Department of Commerce.