New SEPA Checklist Guidance for Impacts to Agricultural
This new guidance responds to the intent of a bill introduced in
2010-SB 6210 related to the preservation and conservation of
agricultural resource lands. The proposed legislation addressed the
need for improving the evaluation and consideration of the
conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses when public agencies
make programmatic/planning and project-level decisions. The State
Environmental Policy Act review process can assist agency
decision-makers to address this issue by:
- Identifying and taking into account the adverse effects of
these actions on the preservation and conservation of
- Considering alternative actions, as appropriate,
- Assuring that such actions appropriately mitigate for
unavoidable impacts to agricultural resources.
Project proponents and SEPA lead agencies are encouraged to
better evaluate the impacts of proposals to agricultural lands with
the following guidance for related questions in the current SEPA
Environmental Checklist Section B
8. Land and shoreline use
a. What is the current use of the site and adjacent
Be as specific as possible. The words in parentheses are
examples that give more information than classifications alone.
- Agricultural (orchard, crop farm, cattle ranch, dairy
farm, poultry, etc.).
Is there any agriculture land directly affected by the
proposal, or near the vicinity of a project site? If yes,
Would this proposal affect the ability of the adjacent
agricultural landowners to continue farming?
Would this proposal affect existing agricultural drainage
patterns within the vicinity? If yes, please generally describe.
Would this proposal affect or interfere with normal
agricultural operations such as oversize equipment access,
pesticide applications, and tilling and harvesting? If
yes, generally describe.
- Residential (apartment/condominiums, townhouses/duplexes,
single-family homes, group home, etc.)
- Commercial (gas station/mini-mart, restaurant, grocery
store, strip mall, super mall, etc.)
- Community or public services (school, church, daycare, fire
- Industrial (warehouse, light manufacturing, pulp and paper
mill, refinery, etc.)
- Natural resource (forest land, mining, wildlife preserve,
- Recreational (golf course, country club, resort, park,
b. Has the site been used for agriculture? Is so,
Provide specific information on any land-use conversion
directly or indirectly caused by the proposal.
How much agriculture land will be converted to a
nonagricultural use of a result of this proposal?
Will this proposal result in placing or removing agricultural
soils from the site? If yes, generally describe.
Describe proposed measures to preserve or enhance
agricultural resource lands, if any.