Blue Mountain Land Trust added 233 more acres of protected open space this fall.
A conservation easement was purchased from the Schwerin family that has farmed for generations outside Dixie, according to a news release. It marks the 11th property coming under the trust’s protection and the first Farmland Preservation project completed in Southeast Washington.
“The easement will keep the property in private ownership while ensuring it will remain a working farm and wildlife habitat forever,” the release stated. “Because the property is now protected forever, you can drive by in 10 years, 50 years, or 100 years and still see the productive soils in agriculture.”
The trust exists to protect the natural values of the region, from farmland to water quality to fish and wildlife habitat. Preservation of sustainable working farms is important to our region, both economically and ecologically, according to the trust.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between the trust and the landowner, which stays with the title of the property; meaning even if the landowners sell the property, future landowners will also be responsible for upholding the agreement. In essence, the trust buys the development rights to the property from the landowner, removing the potential for future development.
Funding for this project came in part through the landowners, and in part through the state Farmland Preservation Program of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Funding for the state program comes from the sale of state general obligation bonds.