Protecting Swan Lake

2015-2016 Conservation Futures Funds Earmarked For Fakkema Farm Conservation Easement

November 2015 - Island County Commissioners unanimously approved $1 million in Conservation Futures Funds to go toward the securement of a conservation easement on the Fakkema Farm. $500,000 this year and $500,000 next year have been earmarked for the purchase. Strong community support played an important role in moving approval. Overwhelming public comments expressed concerns regarding the Fakkema’s timber clearing and grading permit application, and favored their conservation easement alternative. According to Whidbey News Times and South Whidbey Record articles (Dan Richman, Reporter 2015 Nov 18) much of the 377 acres of forest and high-grade farmland could be preserved if the conservation easement is secured. The easement would not preclude the opportunity for the landowners to develop some housing on the eastern most portion of their property in the vicinity of the Whidbey Island Golf Course. Negotiations are still underway with many details yet to be resolved. Depending on the outcome, logging is still a possibility.

Acting as the Fakkema’s Conservation Futures Fund sponsor, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust indicated the Fakkema Farm is “the keystone property to protect on north Whidbey Island,” (WNT). This is a monumental step toward preserving valuable open space and farmland on Whidbey Island. A conservation easement would allow the farm family to retain ownership and associated agricultural zoning rights. The Swan Lake Watershed Preservation Group appreciates the outpouring of community interest in securing this conservation easement that will aid in the protection of the watershed of Swan Lake. The non-profit continues to work toward the long-term comprehensive protection of this rare coastal lagoon and public property