Many farmers are
driven by a culture of
stewardship and want to
Farmers Can Clean Up Waterways
Bob and Maggie Cahalan planted a stream-side buffer of 300 native trees and shrubs
to trap and filter pollutants that would otherwise flow into two streams on their York
County farm in Pennsylvania.
Linn Moedinger’s Lancaster farm dates
back to the early eighteenth century. On it,
he and his family installed 12 acres of trees,
plants, and shrubs to protect Mill Creek.
On his farm in Adams County, Ed Wilkinson
has added several pollution-reducing practices: grassed waterways, terraces, a stream
crossing, and more than 5,000 feet of fencing
to keep livestock out of the stream.
Many farmers in the Commonwealth are
driven by a culture of stewardship and want
to take steps to reduce pollution by keeping
nitrogen and phosphorus and soils on the
land where they can do good, instead of in
the water where they do damage.
Some farmers and landowners can pay
for practices out of their own pockets.
For some landowners in Pennsylvania,
With 19,000 miles of rivers and streams
damaged by pollution, Pennsylvania is off
track to meet its Chesapeake Clean Water
Blueprint goals. Getting back on track
toward meeting those goals requires addi-
tional funding and technical assistance,
and the wise use of it.
To that end, CBF analyzed federal data
and found that Lancaster, York, Franklin,
Cumberland, and Adams Counties in
south-central Pennsylvania contribute the
greatest amount of pollution from agriculture.
New investments, focused on people, places,
Following CBF, several state legislators and
others called for an immediate commitment of
new, targeted restoration funds for those coun-
ties. And, federal and state partners announced
they would collaborate on an infusion of an
additional $28.7 million for clean water.
The flow of additional, targeted financial
and technical assistance needs to reach
high tide, so more landowners like the
Cahalans, Moedingers, and Wilkinsons are
able to do all they can to clean up rivers and
streams in the Keystone State.
Familiarity Helps Inspections
Cumberland County is setting the pace as 28
counties begin inspecting 10 percent of farms
annually, as prescribed in Pennsylvania’s
rebooted clean-water efforts.
Conservation districts in nine other counties
opted out of doing inspections, concerned the
role would cool working relationships they
have with farmers. In those cases, inspections
will be performed by the state Department of
The Cumberland County Conservation
District was part of the pilot program for
inspections of manure-management and erosion and sediment plans. The district is finding that familiarity with the farmers actually
makes the process go smoothly.
“Our two inspectors know the county, the
kinds of crops farmers are growing, and
the terrain,” Conservation District Board
Chairman Wilbur Wolf, Jr., said. “When they
need to talk to farmers about future improvement, they can do it. If somebody from
the Department of Environmental Protection
comes to the farm, they are not as familiar
with the county and the resources in order to
make an informed decision when it comes to
the best practices suited for that farm.”
U To learn more about CBF’s clean-water efforts
in Pennsylvania, visit cbf.org/Pennsylvania.
Additional, targeted financial and technical assistance will allow more landowners in Pennsylvania
to put more pollution reduction measures, such as buffers, into place.