In honor of Wetlands Month, the USDA NRCS in Delaware is highlighting the wetland restoration work completed by Sherie and Nathan Hudson of Pepperbox Farm in Sussex County. As farmers within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, they—along with other Bay farmers, are committed to improving water quality and protecting wildlife habitat.
The Hudsons say that they realized their land was not the best for farmland, and after years of clearing many acres for their swine operations they wanted a change. They worked with NRCS to restore 128 acres of their marginal cropland and woodland to wetlands through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Their ultimate goal is to have a natural food plot for wildlife.
Left photo shows before image of general conditions of Hudson’s fallow field between crops and prior to restoration. Right photo shows after image of their newly constructed pond which is providing habitat for migratory geese.
NRCS Invests Resources to Protect Clear Brook Watershed
The USDA NRCS has two projects targeted to address to improve water quality in the Clear Brook Watershed, which lies within the larger Nanticoke River Watershed.
The National Water Quality Initiative will provide financial assistance to farmers within the Clear Brook Watershed for installing conservation systems to improve water quality. These systems include practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, pest management, filter strips and heavy use area protection pads among many others.
The second effort being launched this month by NRCS is a new project to improve and/or verify the effectiveness of conservation systems through water quality monitoring on agricultural fields within targeted areas of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Delaware NRCS is encouraging producers within the Clear Brook Watershed to sign up by June 14 to monitor the water quality benefits of various conservation practices, such as no-till, cover crops, nutrient management and more.
NRCS will work with producers to identify water quality concerns and help develop unique conservation plans to best meet both environmental needs and the producer’s operational goals.
Field strips are just one of the many practices producers can install on their operation to improve water quality.
Earth Day 2013
On Earth Day 2013, USDA NRCS employees used their quarter-acre Peoples Garden as a platform to teach the children and volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters how to grow their own nutritious plants successfully and sustainably.
One component of growing sustainably is with healthy soil, which is part of the national USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) campaign, “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.” With the world’s population projected at 9 billion in 2050, food production will need to rise by 70 percent and improving soil health is key to long-term, sustainable agricultural production.
The USDA People’s Garden in Dover, DE provides those within the local community access to more healthy fruits and vegetables and has produced more than 1,800 pounds of fruits and vegetables that have been shared with needy families.
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