Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Chesapeake Bay Program Releases Best Management Practice Guide

By Joan Smedinghoff, Chesapeake Bay Program Blog

The Chesapeake Bay Program recently released the Quick Reference Guide for Best Management Practices. This guide distills information about the Bay Program’s hundreds of approved best management practices (BMPs) into fact sheets for farmers, landowners, planners, resource managers and conservation districts.
[Note: The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee is now in the process of recommending Best Management Practices to address agriculture, forestry and other sectors based on cost-effectiveness.  The Agriculture and Forestry Workgroups presented their initial recommendations in July.
[The recommended BMPs for Agriculture include enhanced agricultural compliance, forested and grassed buffers, improved soil health and enhanced manure storage facilities, elimination of excess manure, enhanced nutrient planning and precision feeding.
[The next meeting of the Steering Committee is September 10 where the group will get an update on the pilot county planning process that began over the summer in Adams, Franklin, Lancaster and York counties.
[The process is test-driving the draft county clean water toolbox to develop county-level plans for meeting specific nutrient and sediment reduction targets based in part on cost-effectiveness data on BMPs provided by DEP and the Chesapeake Bay Program.]
BMPs are actions that people can take to prevent pollution from entering their local waterways. This includes things like planting cover crops, managing manure, creating forest buffers, not tilling and restoring urban streams.
Two major sources of pollution pose problems for the Chesapeake Bay.
Stormwater pollution comes from the water that runs off buildings, roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces. It can wash pollution, chemicals and trash into nearby waterways. Increased development has made stormwater runoff the fastest growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.
Agriculture, while vital to our well-being, is the greatest source of nutrient and sediment pollution to the Bay.
Farmers across the Chesapeake have already committed to implementing conservation practices to help prevent pollution from flowing into local waterways, but, according to a recent report by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the technical resources they need to implement these practices are not widely available.
On August 8, the Chesapeake Executive Council signed a directive supporting increased funding for farmer technical assistance.
This BMP guide not only gives basic information about each of the Chesapeake Bay Program-approved BMPs, but also explains how the six Bay states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia-- and the District of Columbia can receive credit for them in the Bay Program’s Watershed Model.
The six states and D.C. can receive credit toward meeting their pollution reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) when these BMPs are implemented, verified and reported for input to the Watershed Model.
Knowing how BMPs are credited in the model is useful for state and local officials putting together Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs).
The six states and D.C. develop WIPs, in consultation with local governments, in order to plan how they will reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in order to meet goals laid out in the Bay TMDL.
Click Here for a copy of the Quick Reference Guide For BMPs.
For more information and available handouts for the September 10 meeting of the Steering Committee, visit the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee webpage.
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