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Fish Farm Flood

Balancing farmland protection and enhancement; habitat restoration and salmon recovery; and flood risk mitigation and reduction.

Directed by the 2012 King County Comprehensive Plan, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks began the creation of a grass-roots effort to determine how to progress three critical priorities for King county: protecting and enhancing farmland; restoring threatened salmon and associated habitat; and reducing flood risks to residents and infrastructure. Balancing these sometimes competing priorities in a shared landscape can be challenging.

In 2013, King County Executive Dow Constantine assembled a cross-section of agricultural, salmon recovery, and flood risk reduction representatives from the Snoqualmie Valley as well as tribal, state, and local jurisdictions to come together to explore the issues that create obstacles and conflict around salmon recovery, flood protection, and productive agriculture in the Snoqualmie Valley Agricultural Production District. This group became the Fish Farm Flood advisory committee whose goal would be to balance and advance these three interests. Over the last 11 years, this committee has worked to develop recommendations for actions that will progress flood risk reduction and protections as well as directly benefit our salmon communities and agriculture sector.

For more information about the history of FFF, visit King County’s Snoqualmie Fish, Farm, & Flood website.

SVPA’s Role in FFF

Board members and staff of SVPA have been involved in the work of Fish Farm Flood since its inception in 2013. The SVPA has worked to elevate the voices of Snoqualmie Valley’s agricultural producers to underscore the importance of our critical working resource lands and ensure land use policy and decisions work to enhance farmland productivity in conjunction with flood risk mitigation, habitat restoration, and salmon recovery. As a signatory on the 2017 FFF Agreement, the SVPA worked alongside fish and flood representatives and signatories to put forth 42 recommendations to support all 3 interests into the future. Through these recommendations, several task forces were developed to progress various actions including the Regulatory Task Force, the Snoqualmie Valley Agricultural Strategic Plan (SVASP)Task Force, the Buffer Task Force (BTF), and the subsequent Buffer Implementation Task Force (BITF). SVPA staff and board members have served on all of these task forces as a dedicated, consistent, and engaged member since 2017 and continue to work with fellow FFF members to complete multi-benefit actions across the Snoqualmie Valley APD.

The SVPA is a voting member on the Fish Farm Flood Implementation Oversight Committee (IOC) which was created to ensure balanced implementation of the agreed-upon actions. Although the IOC works collaboratively to advance shared priorities, members representing each sector are led by an IOC co-chair. Bobbi Lindemulder, a Snoqualmie Valley farmer and Agriculture Department Director with Snohomish Conservation District served as the Farm Caucus Co-Chair for many years, bringing her positive spirit, impressive negotiation skills, and extensive knowledge of agriculture and environmental issues to the work of FFF. In early 2024, Bobbi stepped down from this role to focus her time on other critical efforts.

SVPA’s Executive Director, Lauren Silver-Turner, now serves as the Farm Caucus Co-Chair, alongside Cindy Spiry (Fish Caucus Co-chair), and Angela Donaldson (Flood Caucus Co-Chair). 

Agricultural Strategic Plan Task Force

This plan’s scope of work was created by Fish, Farm, Flood (FFF), but it is also a stand-alone agricultural plan to guide support for agricultural needs in the Snoqualmie Valley Agriculture Production District (SVAPD) over the next 25 years. In March 2019, the Agriculture Task Force was formed and convened by King County Agriculture Staff. The task force worked on the problems facing the commercial farming sector in the SVAPD in managing the agriculture land resource for farming productivity. The task force brings experience from farmers and industry professionals in the commercial farm sector:

  • farmer organizations: SnoValley Tilth and Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance
  • agency agriculture policy advisors: King County Agriculture Commission
  • special purpose districts: Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District and King Conservation District
  • educational institutions: Washington State University Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • and the FFF Implementation Oversight Committee (IOC).

The Task Force Scope of Work laid out two main goals for the plan:

  1. Improve the long-term productivity of farmland, bring more acres into production, especially food production, and increase opportunities for farmers to develop the necessary infrastructure to support or increase their farm businesses
  2. Propose acreage to permanently protect for farming (also called out in Recommendation 32
    and Farm 4 of the FFF agreement). The vision of this plan is to elevate the land resource needs for infrastructure, policy, and regulatory improvements for commercial farmers in the SVAPD and King County so that farmers in the APD, policy makers and service providers can understand the agricultural needs based on facts, implement the solutions, and gain the results needed in the next 25 years.

Read the draft plan (Final Draft update coming soon):

Regulatory Task Force

The goal of the Regulatory Task Force was to evaluate regulations and recommend process improvements or statutory changes, as appropriate, pertaining to key regulatory issues identified by the Fish, Farm, and Flood agricultural stakeholders. The goal of the task force is to identify changes that will reduce the compliance costs and increase predictability without diminishing the overall level of environmental protection of the level of flood protection that regulations are intended to assure. Initial areas of focus for the task force included:

  • Drainage regulations that make maintenance expensive or time consuming or otherwise restrict the ability to improve drainage of farm fields.
  • Flood regulations related to constructing farm pads, buildings, and other farm improvements.
  • Mitigation required when farmers maintain drainage ditches or build a farm pad or other structure in a wetland or a buffer of a wetland or stream

Read the final deliverable:



Buffers Task Force

The goal of the Buffers Task Force (BTF) was to develop a science-based riparian buffer planting implementation strategy for the Snoqualmie Valley Agricultural Production District that strikes a balance between increasing ecological function of waterways and maintaining the agricultural viability of the Snoqualmie Valley Agricultural Production District.

The BTF used a science-based decision model to develop maximum recommended riparian buffer widths based on watercourse types and landscape characteristics, with adjustments to allow flexibility that would minimize impacts to farmable land and agricultural viability. The outcome of this work was mutually agreed-upon variable-width riparian buffers recommendations for all watercourses in the SVAPD.

Read the final deliverables:




Buffer Implementation Task Force

Based on the recommendations of the Buffer Task Force, the FFF IOC recognized the need for a Buffer Implementation Task Force (BITF) to determine minimum planting widths, identify incentives, and define strategic planting goals. The Buffer Implementation Task Force was formed in January 2023 to identify how to accelerate the rate of restoration planting in the SVAPD while accounting for inevitable impacts to agricultural lands and ensuring public dollars are invested in streamside vegetation that provide meaningful ecological benefits.

Read the final deliverable:

One of the recommendations that came out of the Buffer Implementation Task Force Report was to “Conduct Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) research to develop a streamside vegetation outreach plan and tools to encourage participation by landowners in the SVAPD.”

The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum funded this effort and partnered with SVPA and Monaghan Consulting to complete this research. The findings of this research are intended to inform and guide a Snoqualmie Valley watershed collective effort to build a comprehensive riparian implementation program that is rooted in community needs and goals, specifically those of commercial agricultural landowners.

CBSM Final Report Coming Soon!