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Using GIS Mapping in our Preservation Work

With invaluable help from Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, forester Ted Hensold and the Conservation District's Doug Phelps (who is also a Working Group member), the Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group now has a functional GIS map that we can use in our farmland preservation work. It costs the Working Group $100 per year to maintain the license for the mapping software. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Working group to help with this expense.

Here are some views of the map just to show some of its capability. These depict the locations, in blue, of potential agricultural soils of different categories in Spokane County. The term 'potential' is used because whereas a soil type can be agricultural soil, there are qualifications that are not taken into account in these depictions such as slope, how often the land floods, etc. However, if the Working Group wants to look at a piece of land that is, say, threatened with development, we can use the map to zoom in and assess the slope based on the topographical data that the map also contains. On-site assessments will also be valuable.

Potential agricultural soils ALL

Potential agricultural soils PRIME

Potential agricultural soils PRIME IF IRRIGATED

Potential agricultural soils PRIME IF DRAINED
Note: We do not endorse the draining of wetlands for agricultural production.

Potential agricultural soils OF STATEWIDE IMPORTANCE
 Generally, additional farmlands of statewide importance include those that are nearly prime farmland and that economically produce high yields of crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods. Some may produce as high a yield as prime farmlands if conditions are favorable. (USDA NRCS)


As an example of what the map looks like if we examine a particular parcel up close, here's what the Vinegar Flats farm looks like:

Green: The Pilcher property (3 parcels)
Blue: Prime soil if irrigated (very little slope although the topographical layer is not exposed here)
Red: Roads

The Working Group can now monitor recent construction permit application filings to assess if there are any proposed projects where ag land is threatened.