The geography, rich soils, and significant precipitation in King County are great assets to farming. However, climate change brings weather swings that have caused significant flooding in the winter and severe drought in the summer. Preparing for floods, drainage projects, and water access are key to farming successfully. There are organizations and agency programs to support farmers in navigating these challenges.
Water Rights and Drainage
Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District
The newly created Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District (WID) has statutory authority (RCW Chapter 87.03) to assist lower Snoqualmie Valley landowners with water-related issues such as agricultural drainage and irrigation water rights. During its startup year (2016), the Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance is providing administrative support. The WID is in the process of developing a water bank, a voluntary market-based mechanism for buying, selling, leasing and protecting water rights in the lower Snoqualmie Valley. For more information, visit:
King Conservation District
Agricultural Drainage Program - The King Conservation District is developing a comprehensive set of services to assist landowners with maintaining and improving agricultural drainage systems. The program aim is to enable more landowners to complete agricultural drainage improvements successfully. This could include supporting landowner participation in the King County Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP). Services provided by King Conservation District include a combination of technical assistance, project coordination (especially in the case of multi-landowner projects) and financial assistance. Financial assistance is in the form of reimbursement cost share for dredging and culvert replacement through the Landowner Incentive Program.
King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP)
Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP) helps agricultural property owners improve drainage of their agricultural lands by providing technical assistance and the following services:
- Land survey of drainage systems to identify solutions,
- Engineering of drainage solutions and documentation of solution to include in permit application,
- Submit permit application on behalf of landowner, or group of landowners,
- Fish relocation during dredging construction,
- Aquatic buffer mitigation weed removal and native planting, where applicable, and
- ADAP has developed bmps for addressing four of the most common impacts to agricultural drainage:
Farm Pad Program
- Technical assistance - King County will provide technical assistance to help you locate and construct an elevated farm pad to store your livestock, farm machinery and other agricultural equipment and supplies. An annual application for assistance is due in March each year.
The Landowners Guide to Washington Water Rights, produced by the Department of Ecology, provides landowners and would be land buyers with a background on the basics of water rights in Washington State, and helps identify the right questions to ask when transacting in land.
Ecology’s Water Resources Explorer (Web Map) allows users to query and view data and documents relating to water rights and claims. The Web Map is an efficient tool for anyone researching water rights or water right claims, or seeking to obtain a water right in Washington State.
King County’s Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP)
WA State Department of Agriculture’s Farm Wisdom Video Series: Flood Preparation and Recovery