The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was awarded a grant of $800,000 as a part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.
The grant will be used to work to realize targeted agricultural Best Management Practices on farms to achieve pollutant reductions in the Octoraro Reservoir, a drinking water source for 250,000 households in Lancaster County.
The project goal is to reduce 9,305 pounds of phosphorus, 285,488 pounds of nitrogen, and 8,172,082 pounds of sediment from subwatersheds of the Octoraro Creek that are upstream of the reservoir.
“We are very excited to launch this project with the local groups and agencies that have already amassed a great deal of scientific data and have built relationships in the agricultural community,” said Pennsylvania Director of the Alliance, Donna Morelli. “The Octoraro Watershed Association has been working with the Amish community with a great deal of success in implementing practices.”
The project will build upon existing local efforts of the Octoraro Watershed Association, the Chester Water Authority, Chester County Water Resources Authority and the Lancaster County and Chester County Conservation Districts.
These groups, the Alliance and other partners will create a Source Water Protection Collaborative to continue working on water-quality issues as well as develop a sustainable regional financing plan for ongoing BMP implementation.
“We’re very thankful to have this opportunity to use a new approach to cost share the implementation of BMPs on Plain Sect Farms,” said Pat Fasano, project coordinator of the Octoraro Watershed Association.
OWA has been visiting Amish farmers for about 18 years, to convince the conservative Plain Sect folks of the benefits of protecting water quality through building manure storage units, fencing and other on-farm projects.
The funding partners for the NFWF grant include government and private foundations. The grant program is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Bay by helping local communities clean up and restore their polluted rivers and streams.
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