Conserving Natural Resources in the Chesapeake Bay NRCS 2006 Conservation Activities Funding for the Bay The Chesapeake Bay is the largest, most productive estuary in North America. The watershed is home to 3,600 species of plants, fish and animals, and nearly 16 million people. Did You Know? • The headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay are located in New York. provides over half the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay. non-federal forest land account for nearly 75% of the land use in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. about $80 million to help private landowners install conservation practices benefiting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. • The Susquehanna River • Cropland, pastureland and The basin that drains into the Bay covers nearly 44.5 million acres in six states and the District of Columbia. Since 1983, NRCS has been part of a federal, state and local partnership effort to conserve natural resources within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. NRCS provides conservation technical assistance to help private landowners address natural resource concerns. In fiscal year 2006, NRCS spent an estimated $80 million in federal dollars in the Bay watershed. This includes nearly $50 million in financial assistance provided directly to agricultural producers and Riparian buffers keep soil and nutrients out of waterways. • In 2006 alone, NRCS provided other private landowners. The remaining funds supported technical assistance efforts to help farmers plan conservation activities on their land. NRCS consistently ranks among the top federal agencies in spending in the Bay watershed. Funding highlights include over $30 million in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help producers’ efforts install conservation practices such as animal waste and conservation tillage. Over $4 million from the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program went to entities developing innovative solutions to pressing conservation issues. Three million dollars was spent on restoring and protecting wetlands, and over $6 million was spent on conservation easements to protect farmlands in perpetuity. FRPP easements help keep farmland from being lost to development FISCAL YEAR 2006 CHESAPEAKE BAY FUNDING—NRCS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE State Environmental Quality Incentives Program Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program Agricultural Management Assistance Program Farmland & Conservation Ranch land Security Protection Program Program Wetlands Reserve Program Delaware Maryland New York Pennsylvania Virginia West Virginia Totals $ 4,474,700 $ 5,701,300 $ 1,749,300 $ 6,575,800 $ 5,708,600 $ 1,214,500 $25,424,200 $ 108,700 $ 432,100 $ 47,500 $ 103,200 $ 209,900 $ 157,800 $1,059,200 $ 23,200 $ 477,800 $ 766,800 $ 966,000 $0 $ 255,200 $2,489,000 $ 986,600 $3,260,100 $0 $ 238,600 $ 91,940 $0 $4,577,200 $0 $2,888,700 $0 $1,343,300 $0 $1,343,600 $5,575,600 $ 962,000 $ 645,000 $ 728,300 $ 277,800 $0 $ 34,800 $2,647,900 Farm Bill Programs Conservation on the Land Farmers show their com— mitment to good stewardship by participating in voluntary Farm Bill programs that improve water quality. Pollution in the Bay comes from many sources— Eric Hopkins and NRCS employee Jack Lakatosh sewage, urban development, agricultural runoff and others. Farmers are doing their part but it will take the collective efforts of everyone to achieve a cleaner Bay. FISCAL YEAR 2006 CHESAPEAKE BAY FUNDING—NRCS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE State Delaware Maryland New York Pennsylvania Virginia West Virginia Totals EQIP $ 984,400 $1,254,300 $ 384,900 $1,446,700 $1,255,900 $ 267,200 $5,593,400 WHIP $ 22,800 $ 90,700 $ 10,000 $ 21,700 $ 44,000 $ 33,100 $222,400 AMA $ 4,900 $100,300 $161,000 $202,900 $0 $ 53,600 $522,700 CSP $148,000 $489,000 $0 $ 35,800 $ 13,800 $0 $686,600 FRPP $0 $ 86,700 $0 $ 40,300 $0 $ 40,300 $167,300 WRP $119,300 $ 80,000 $ 90,300 $ 34,500 $0 $ 4,300 $328,400 Conservation Technical Assistance NRCS employees work side-by-side with farmers to provide science based options for ensuring productive lands and a healthy environment. The Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTA) provides the technical capability, including conservation planning, design and implementation assistance. In 2006, NRCS provided $20,371,025 in CTA funds to help farmers plan and apply conservation systems on their land. With NRCS technical assistance, farmers developed conservation plans to protect natural resources on 651,694 acres within the Bay watershed. CONSERVATION MEASURES APPLIED IN FISCAL YEAR 2006 IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED Riparian Forest Buffers Prescribed grazing systems Irrigation water management Nutrient management systems Waste storage/manure composting facilities Streambank, shoreline stabilization Wetlands created, restored or enhanced 4,305 acres 33,078 acres 12,857 acres 149,536 acres 407 159,693 acres 2,643 acres Upland wildlife habitat No-till cropping systems 45,951 acres 99,400 acres 212,675 feet 13,559 acres 80,038 acres 17,238 acres 131,518 acres Field Borders Contour farming Cover crop Waste utilization Pest management Rewarding Good Stewardship on Delaware Farms Eric and Judy Hopkins were the first farmers in Delaware to participate in the Conservation Security Program (CSP). This USDA program rewards farmers for outstanding stewardship and encourages further efforts. The Hopkins operate a 217 acre grain farm in New Castle County. They raise corn, small grain and soybeans using various conservation practices. Since purchasing the farm in 1986, they have created and restored wetlands, planted grass and food buffers, built wildlife habitats for waterfowl, and utilized irrigation water management, filter strips and no-tillage to protect soil and water resources. They practice nutrient and pest management through a conservation cropping system which includes crop rotations and cover crops. The entire Hopkins family takes pride in conserving, maintaining and enhancing natural resources throughout their serene homestead and lands. The family has implemented all the practices that NRCS and other federal and state agencies and organizations are trying to persuade other farmers to use. In 2006, NRCS provided $4.5 million under the CSP to reward farmers throughout the Hopkins Farm in New Castle County, DE Chesapeake Bay Watershed for practicing good stewardship, and to encourage additional conservation activities that help promote clean water. Cooperative Conservation Partnerships Help Protect Shellfish in Virginia Zebra mussels attack native mussels. Zebra Mussel Eradication In 2006, NRCS partnered with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to successfully eradicate a colony of zebra mussels. The mussels were found in an abandoned quarry in Northern Virginia near 2 facilities that supply water to over a million people. Zebra mussels can colonize on any hard surface, posing a threat to many bottom-dwelling species including Virginia’s rare and endangered freshwater mussels. Zebra mussels attach to larger native mussels, making it impossible for them to open or close, burrow in the stream, or feed. NRCS provided $300,000 under the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) to carry out the project. This was the first time anywhere in the world that zebra mussels were successfully eradicated in an open body of water. Restoring An Oyster Reef Oysters are key to the health of the Bay, serving as part of the filtration system and providing habitat for other species. To help restore declining oyster habitat, NRCS began a pilot project to construct and seed an oyster reef in the shallow waters near Gloucester, Virginia. Funds are being provided under WHIP. To locate the best site for the new reef, NRCS completed its first subaqueous soil survey. Soil scientists lowered augers and a peat sampler into the York River to retrieve soil cores. This survey provides detailed descriptions, Surveying underwater soils properties and interpretations of underwater soils which can help with restoring habitat for other species. “Did you know that one adult oyster filters between 25-50 gallons of water per day, removing sediment, bacteria, nutrients and plankton?” Maryland Projects Help Restore Wetlands and Reduce Nutrients the state in 2005 to show how intense conservation and restoration efforts both in the stream and in the watershed can successfully restore a river that drains to the Bay. Wetland Restoration In the Corsica River Watershed NRCS and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources have signed a partnership agreement to restore and protect wetlands. Funding from NRCS and technical assistance from DNR will be used to help landowners implement wetland restoration activities. The project will focus on select areas where restoring wetlands can significantly reduce nutrient loads to local rivers and streams. These areas were identified by DNR and Queen Anne’s County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) as part of a wetland restoration strategy. The Corsica River was selected as a pilot project by project. Feed Management Standard In 2006, NRCS developed a feed management conservation practice standard for Maryland. NRCS later partnered with the NRCS, DNR, the Maryland University of Maryland CooperaDepartment of Agriculture and tive Extension and the ChesaQueen Anne’s County SWCD are peake Bay Program to develop a among the many federal, state feed management effort in the and local agencies and stakeMonocacy watershed through holder groups involved in the the EQIP. A pilot project will be implemented to provide uniform and balanced feed for cows for optimum milk production. More efficient feed management reduces nutrients in manure and the potential for over application. The project will provide costsharing and incentive funding to farmers who develop a feed management plan and then implement it over the course of three years. Preserving West Virginia Farms Helps Protect the Bay Rapid expansion of the poultry industry throughout the late 1980’s and 1990’s in the 3,500 square mile Potomac Headwaters watershed raised concerns regarding water quality and other long-term impacts in the Chesapeake Basin. Over 75 percent of the watershed is privately owned; a significant challenge in developing an effective solution. The Potomac Headwaters Land Treatment Project addresses these issues by working with individual farmers to improve water quality through agricultural Best Management Practices. Operating through the Flood Control Act (PL-534), NRCS provides technical assistance and cost-share funding for litter sheds, mortality composters, confined Roofed manure storage facilities keep surface runoff from contaminating feeding area improvements, streams. and riparian area protection. The project enjoys a participation rate exceeding 80% among eligible participants. Improvement practices totaling $14 million have been implemented on 300 agricultural operations, resulting in reduced in-stream fecal bacteria and nitrates. NRCS & EPA Sign Nutrient Trading Agreement NRCS 2006 Conservation Activities Contact: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Kari Cohen, Chesapeake Bay State Coordinator Phone: (443) 482-2953 E-mail: email@example.com Helping People Help the Land We’re on the Web! www.nrcs.usda.gov USDA Natural Resources and Environment Under Secretary Mark Rey and Benjamin Grumbles, Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, signed a partnership agreement to establish and promote water quality credit trading markets through cooperative conservation. The agreement features a pilot project within the Chesapeake Bay basin to showcase the effectiveness of environmental markets. Water quality credit trading uses a market-based approach that offers incentives to farmers and ranchers who implement conservation practices that improve water quality. While reducing pollution, farmers can earn credits they can trade with industrial or municipal facilities that are required to meet the Clean Water Act and other laws to reduce the amounts of pollution in wastewater. Pennsylvania Buffers Benefit Water Quality NRCS is partnering with the Farm Services Agency, the state, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others to help landowners install buffers along streams to protect water quality. More agricultural acres have been enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Pennsylvania than any other state. These buffers absorb and filter sediment and runoff from nearby fields before they reach the stream. In addition to improving water quality, they provide habitat for many wildlife species. Mike Marquardt like many other farmers is using CREP to help protect water quality in streams that drain to the Bay. He enrolled 40 acres in CREP and planted buffers with grasses and legumes to provide food and cover for songbirds, rabbits, turkeys and other wildlife. Buffer completed on the Marquardt farm in 2006. Keeping New York Streams Clean Under the EQIP program, NRCS works with farmers to manage animal waste from livestock operations such as dairies. A branch of the Tioughnioga River flows right behind Ken and Susan Poole’s dairy farm, in Cortland County, NY. The River flows into the Susquehanna River which drains into the Chesapeake Bay. The Poole’s were concerned that their barnyard was overly sloppy and that it was having an adverse affect on their herd’s health. Also, barnyard runoff was flowing into the Tioughnioga River. With EQIP funds, the Poole’s were able to install a large concrete pad in the barnyard’s high-traffic area. The pad makes it easy to scrape the manure daily and deposit it in a manure storage pit. The new system makes it less likely that manure and other potential pollutants will make it into the Tioughnioga, or the Chesapeake Bay. Concrete pad helps keep cows healthy and streams clean The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and (TDD). 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