Volunteer Stewardship Program

Info about Volunteer Stewardship Program

What is VSP?

  • The Voluntary Stewardship Program aims to protect critical areas where they intersect with agricultural activities
  • The program offers an incentive based approach to garner voluntary involvement while enhancing the long-term success and viability of agricultural production in Columbia County.

VSP projects require multiple steps between the initial application stage and when the project is completed. The flow chart on the left is a general representation of the steps required in most VSP project.

Frequently Asked VSP Questions
Who Can Apply?

Anyone who is interested in agriculture, conservation, and local community.

What kind of incentives are offered?

The CCD offers a 75/25 percent cost share reimbursement program to approved projects. VSP projects are lead by landowners so that they are able to identify and implement unique efforts that will. Additionally, land-owners are able to construct their own projects if they wish, otherwise projects can be contracted. All upfront costs are the landowners responsibility, once the project has been completed and all relevant requirements are met then reimbursement checks are mailed.

Is the Columbia Conservation District a regulatory agency?

No, all participation in offered programs are voluntary.

Are there projects that wouldn’t count towards a VSP program?

Yes, VSP projects MUST have an agricultural component.

Example- a flood has eroded a streambank and part of a field. VSP funds could be used to re-establish the streambank. A flood that has eroded a streambank near a private residence does not qualify for VSP funds.

How to start a VSP program?

Download the VSP Survey and Application (green buttons on the right), fill out and return and CCD.

-CCD staff can help answer questions

Critical areas interactive map

What are Critical Areas?

Wetlands

Areas inundated by surface water or groundwater for at least part of the growing season and which support vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

Geologic Hazards

Areas susceptible to erosion, sliding, and other geological events. In Columbia County, geologic hazards related to agricultural activities are primarily associated with erosion.

Frequently Flooded Areas

Includes floodplains and floodways, and often includes the low-lying areas adjacent to rivers and lakes that are prone to inundation during heavy rains and snowmelt.

Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas

Areas that have a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for drinking water, including aquifers vulnerable to contamination.

Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas

Lands and waters that provide habitat to support fish and wildlife species throughout their life stages.