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News Release

USDA’s Chesapeake Bay Accomplishments Making a Difference in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed


United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1221 College Park Drive, Suite 100
Dover, Delaware 19904
For More Information:

Sylvia Rainford, 202-720-2536
Dastina Wallace, DE only, 302-678-4179


USDA’s Chesapeake Bay Accomplishments Making a Difference in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Landowners using financial, technical assistance to improve water quality

     WASHINGTON, June 18, 2012 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has achieved historic levels of conservation implementation in the Chesapeake Bay watershed during the past two fiscal years, leading to water quality improvements, wildlife habitat enhancement and support of rural economies, Chief Dave White recently announced. In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, NRCS helped Chesapeake Bay farmers, forest landowners, and other partners voluntarily install conservation practices or actions on a total of 650,000 acres of working lands.

     Since 2004, NRCS has provided more than $500 million to help farmers install or apply conservation practices. In addition, the 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance to farmers and forest landowners through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI), which focuses funding and other resources on priority areas identified by NRCS and its partners. Through the use of CBWI and other Farm Bill programs, NRCS staff helped landowners to voluntarily implement over 60,000 new conservation practices in the watershed in fiscal year 2011.

    “We believe that a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector is critical to restoring the Chesapeake Bay,” White said. “We are working with better scientific tools that are helping us to target the right conservation practices in the right locations to achieve maximum water quality improvements.”

    NRCS staff has helped landowners voluntarily apply or construct the following conservation practices in priority watersheds and across the Chesapeake Bay region:

  •   262 new waste storage facilities to help farmers manage manure

  •   151,689 acres of nutrient management to improve the rate, timing, and method of nutrient application

  •   7,114 acres of access control to exclude livestock from streams

  •   121,573 acres of reduced tillage to reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality

  •   136,501 acres of cover crop to reduce nutrient losses

  •   65,317 feet of terraces to control soil erosion

   In FY 2011, Delaware worked with nearly 200 poultry growers statewide to address natural resource challenges on their poultry operations. Using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the CBWI, growers achieved the following: 

  •   Installed 208 heavy use area pads to reduce thousands of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus annually from potentially running into local waterways,

  •   Completed 48 manure storage structures and installed 29 composting facilities which helps manage two million pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous for land application, and

  •   Applied 42 waste treatment practices to reduce ammonia in the air for improved air quality.

    Through the CBWI alone, DE has provided $3.3 million in financial assistance to producers through 120 contracts.

    To learn more about NRCS’s role in the Chesapeake Bay, please visit


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