SOURCE: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

February 20, 2009 10:00 ET

USDA Offers Additional Conservation Opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

HARRISBURG, PA--(Marketwire - February 20, 2009) - The new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI), recently authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers additional conservation opportunities for farms located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This new initiative offers technical and financial assistance to install agricultural practices to help control erosion and minimize excess nutrients and sediments to restore, preserve, and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

In Pennsylvania, CBWI will focus on priority practices in priority areas to complement other statewide program offerings. The Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservation Service will place priority on the implementation of core conservation practices (tillage and residue management, improved nutrient management, and stream-side buffers).

Cathy Myers, Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, is a strong supporter of CBWI. "This initiative has the potential to benefit both farmers and the environment. I encourage farmers to apply for this opportunity to implement core conservation practices that will assist farmers in sustaining their farm's productivity and help Pennsylvania to better protect local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay."

Agricultural land throughout the entire Bay watershed is eligible for this new conservation opportunity. Special consideration in the ranking process will be given to local watersheds that have been identified as priorities. Priority watersheds were identified using a combination of factors, which included the level of nutrient yield to the Bay, percentage of agricultural land use cover, local nutrient or dissolved oxygen issues, the potential for water quality response, and implementation opportunities. Pennsylvania and the other Bay states worked with the Chesapeake Bay Program Office in Annapolis, Maryland to identify priority areas.

The CBWI funding is the largest amount of farm conservation money ever to target the Bay. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released $23 million to the six states in the Bay watershed to provide technical and financial assistance to farmers in the watershed. Pennsylvania received $6.7 million for this new initiative.

To find out more about this exciting conservation opportunity, producers should contact their local NRCS or Conservation District office to request assistance. Information on the location of USDA Service Centers can be found at Additional information about the new Chesapeake Bay initiative for fiscal year 2009, a map of priority watersheds, a list of the priority watersheds, and the program application are available on the Pennsylvania NRCS Web site at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Molly McDonough