Working Buffer Pilot Project

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This effort by Snohomish Conservation District, NOAA Restoration Center, and Puget Sound Partnership aims to identify property owners that want to redesign their land use to both increase agricultural viability and productivity, while increasing Riparian Buffer Functions, while retaining their property rights and maximizing the private use of their lands. Our goal is to help private land owners understand and use of the diverse and confusing array of programs and regulations that affect their decision making, both supporting implementation of good projects, and providing feedback to government programs on how they can improve their practices to meet the needs of rural communities.

The project completed outreach and survey activities in Fall and Winter of 2013-14, developed outreach materials in winter 2014-15, and installed a pilot site in the 2015-16 planting season. Ongoing work is integrated into Coordinated Investment.



  • Some of the original inspiration for this project came from the traditional Satoyama landscapes of Japan, where a thousand years of continuous occupation resulted in complex multi-function landscapes with high ecological and economic function.
  • The Agroforestry page has general links about agroforestry
  • A critical piece of managing agricultural water quality involves designing buffering systems that respond to site specific patterns of pollutant loading and stormwater flow. Systems for harvesting surface water for irrigation may reduce pressure on riparian buffer systems by using concentrated surface flows.