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PA and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

New Report: Agricultural Lands Key to a Healthy Chesapeake Bay

Sept. 9, 2016. A new progress report details the investment by farmers and forest landowners to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed through voluntary conservation.

Download the full progress report. (PDF, 5MB)

Download additional reports by state: Delaware, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Chesapeake Executive Council holds annual meeting to set goals and guidance for Bay Program partnership

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania commits an additional $28 million to help reduce nutrient pollution in the state.


The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a large ecosystem that encompasses approximately 64,000 square miles in six states: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia.

Although Pennsylvania doesn't border the Chesapeake Bay, more than half of the state lies within the watershed. Pennsylvania contains two major rivers that are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: the Susquehanna, with 21,000 square miles, and the Potomac, with 1,600 square miles. Together, they total 40 percent of the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Susquehanna River basin is the largest tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. From its start near Cooperstown, New York, the river flows over 400 miles and empties into the northern portion of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

* Documents on this page will require Adobe Acrobat.

NRCS Chesapeake Bay Efforts

Presidential Executive Order 13508

On May 12, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13508 on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration. In response, federal agencies developed a Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with focused environmental initiatives to implement the Executive Order.

Executive Order 13508 Strategy Fact Sheet

Conewago Showcase Watershed

Conewago CreekIn response to Executive Order 13508, NRCS established showcase projects in small watersheds to test and monitor the benefits of a focused, highly partnered, voluntary approach to conservation. In Pennsylvania, the Conewago Creek Watershed, was chosen as the Showcase Watershed. The Conewago Creek Watershed is a small sub-watershed (33,617 acres) that straddles three counties, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster. It is part of the Lower Susquehanna-Swatara sub-basin unit with direct drainage to the Lower Susquehanna River Basin in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay water resource drainage area.

USDA-NRCS Showcase Watershed: Conewago Creek


 Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Watershed

 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Acreage

NRCS Helps Farmers Help the Bay

NRCS helps Pennsylvania farmers help the Bay by providing financial and technical assistance for conservation practices, such as:

  • Stream bank fencing
  • Riparian buffers
  • Windbreaks/odor control
  • Soil erosion control
  • Wildlife habitat establishment and improvement
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Grazing
  • Irrigation
  • Nutrient management
  • Farm land protection

    Explore NRCS's Conservation Programs in Pennsylvania to see how we can help you help the bay.

Success Stories

Other Chesapeake Bay Watershed States

Chesapeake Bay Partners

   Chesapeake Bay Program
   The Chesapeake Bay Program is a unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983.

   Chesapeake Bay Journal
   Bay Journal is published by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to inform the public about issues and events that affect the Chesapeake Bay.


Susan Marquart
Natural Resource Specialist
(717) 237-2237