Friday, April 3, 2009

A Dairy and an Orchard

Ever thought about the role that agriculture plays in your local watershed? As part of our WSU Beach Watchers program, we joined Beth Chisholm, the Resource Specialist - Public Education for the Whatcom Conservatin District, who told us of the efforts to help implement best management practices with local farmers, and then led us on a tour of two very different farms in Whatcom County. First, Veen Huizen Farms, a large dairy in Everson. Faced with the challenges of manure management, animal welfare, air and water quality, urban growth crowding into the countryside and maintaining production, the Vanderveens are committed to finding solutions to environmental issues.
Jennifer gives milking a try.
Manure management is an ongoing effort at the dairy. This manure lagoon, better looking through the lense of my camera, produces a high-quality fertilizer after processing that is then spread onto farm fields.
On the other side of the lane, another lagoon. This one holding a cleaner version of water from the manure lagoon. After processing, the water is ready to use once again around the farm. After mucking through yards and barns, we were glad to use this high-pressured hose to end our tour!
More photos from Veen Huizen Farms.

Then, we set off to Bellwood Acres, an apple orchard, and on to the Four Mile Creek.
Dorrie Belisle led us on a tour of her apple orchard and shared with us about her efforts on the Ten Mile Creek Watershed Restoration Project, including restoration efforts along the Four Mile Creek.
Some of the challenges at the orchard and factors impacting the watershed include agriculture land conservation, the use of pesticides, urban growth spreading into agriculture areas, beavers and beaver dams, water rights and usage, local and State laws, and the variety of animal and crop agriculture types in the area.
Photos from Bellwood Acres and Four Mile Creek.


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