The Critical Areas Ordinance of Whatcom County (County Code Title 16.16) requires the protection of critical areas and their regulated buffers from harmful impacts. Ongoing agricultural activities may be permitted within critical areas and/or their buffers with the submittal and approval of a Farm Conservation Plan. Otherwise, all ongoing agricultural activities must comply with the standard regulations.
Agricultural operations, such as hobby farms, have an important role to play in community resource protection. Because farming operations have important cultural, economic, and historical value in Whatcom County, the county is striving to strike a balance between farming operations and natural resource conservation.
Whatcom County has initiated an outreach program directed toward low-impact, ongoing agriculture operations. The county has teamed up with Whatcom Conservation District to provide technical assistance on low-impact farm plans.