Engles help connect preservation dots

Attempts to connect protected farmland on Central Whidbey Island took a step forward.

Dave and Delores Engle recently placed a conservation easement on 32 acres of land located within the confines of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, basically ensuring it will be used for farming.

“We love knowing the beauty of the prairie will go on forever, and this 32 acres is part of the prairie,” Dave Engle said in a news release. “We feel like stewards of the land. It’s a gift to leave it for future generations. If you carve up open spaces, you cannot bring them back again.”

The easement protects productive agricultural soils and connects already protected farmland, contributing to the agricultural setting and open scenic views on the prairie.

The land’s protection is also beneficial to wildlife that hunts the fields, according to a news release from the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.

The conservation easement removes all development rights from the property. It will never be subdivided for residential, retail or industrial uses. The Engles will continue to manage the property as farmland.

“We are thankful for the deep commitment of Dave and Dolores Engle and their dedication to sustaining the tradition of farming here in Ebey’s Reserve,” said Mark Preiss, manager of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. “Connecting this land with other protected lands is critical to maintaining a strong fabric of farming here. We are fortunate to have the Whidbey Camano Land Trust staff and board in our corner.”

Funding for the easement was provided by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program Farmland Preservation Fund, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Island County Conservation Futures, according to the news release.

The easement on the property is part of a larger effort by the Land Trust to connect protected lands within Ebey’s Reserve.

The Land Trust is working on several agricultural conservation easements as well as a project that will protect the habitat at Crockett Lake.


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