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Conservation Stories: Terry Plake

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Terri Plake has been keeping horses and trail riding in Whatcom county for more than twenty years. After boarding horses with friends for many years, a long-time dream to keep her horses at home came true when Terri moved to a beautiful 6-acre farm in Ferndale. The farm includes a historic barn and is surrounded by productive Whatcom hay fields. After being contacted by the Department of Ecology regarding manure management, Terri reached out to the Whatcom Conservation District for free and confidential custom planning support. After the creation of a custom farm plan, Terri continued her collaboration with the District, taking advantage of complimentary pasture soil test, manure spreader loan, rebate for barn gutter repair, and small farm grant for manure storage bunker construction. With her positive experience, Terri has referred many of her friends and riding partners to the Conservation District for services. "It's confidential," says Terri, emphasizing this fact when she encourages her community to reach out.

"I am a geologist by training, so I knew I was in California Creek watershed. But until I saw the watershed map included in my custom farm plan, being in Ferndale, I did not realize fully the extent to which my actions have direct effects on water quality in Drayton Harbor. There are a large and growing number of single family horse farms in Whatcom County. All of us need to know about the cumulative impacts to water quality we have with our farm management practices. And the financial assistance grants offered help to make improvements doable that otherwise may not be affordable. I believe that we all want to do the right thing to care for the health of our horses and the health of the streams and watershed. Together we can have a big positive impact in improving and maintaining clean water that in turn, helps the salmon, the shellfish, and the people. Thank you Whatcom Conservation District for your continuing support.”- Terri Plake

Story by Katie Pencke

Photos by Gabriella Mednick

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