Army Corp & WDFW wants to flood thousands of acres of Washington farmland, but forgot to ask the farmers about it
This is some of the most beautiful and productive farmland in the state. It is used to grow seed potatoes in Whatcom County. Seed potatoes require land that is well prepared and isolated. The Army Corps of Engineers and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife are planning on flooding about 800 acres of this land. The plan also calls for removing drainage ditches–essential for farming. This could cost an addition 2500 acres of prime farmland.
They say the loss of farmland is “insignificant.” Maybe to them. But farmers can’t farm without farmland. There is no more farmland to be had in Whatcom County. You don’t manufacture it out of thin air. What is left, less than 100,000 acres, is increasingly precious and increasingly expensive. Top notch berry land goes for about $35,000 per acre. This plan would remove about 3% of Whatcom County’s remaining farmland–an absolutely irreplaceable loss in an area where farm viability is teetering.
Farmers are very concerned about environmental protection, restoration and fish habitat. But, this plan directly contradicts the Puget Sound Partnerships Action Agenda (read Section A.3 which calls for measures to protect farmland by protecting the economic viability of farmers!).
Capital Press did an excellent job of covering this story. One thing the Army Corp and Fish and Wildlife should know right now–farmers will not support this misguided misuse of taxpayer’s money.