Solutions for Addressing Stormwater Pollution

Farmer Jim Hershey is one of an ever growing number of farmers using no-till and cover crop conservation practices.  Photo by CBF StaffFarmer Jim Hershey is one of an ever growing number of farmers using no-till and cover crop conservation practices, which help reduce the amount of polluted runoff reaching local streams and the Bay.  Photo by CBF Staff

AGRICULTURE

CBF has long called for greater use of conservation practices on farms throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

But what are these practices and how will they help protect the Bay?

It is estimated that widespread use of these six priority practices on Bay region farms could reduce the amount of nitrogen pollution going into the Bay from nonpoint sources by as much as 60 percent.

Conservation practices, frequently called best management practices, or BMPs, are tools that farmers can use to reduce soil and fertilizer runoff, properly manage animal waste, and protect water and air quality on their farms. Often these tools can help improve a farmer’s bottomline as well by reducing operational costs.

The six most cost-effective conservation practices include:

  • Streamside Buffers
  • Streamside Fencing
  • Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs)
  • Continuous No-Till
  • Multi-Species Cover Crops
  • Grazing

These practices reduce the most amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus per dollar spent. Benefits of using these practices, besides absorbing excess phosphorus and nitrogen and reducing nutrient pollution runoff, include managing soil erosion, improving soil quality, preventing soil compaction, sequesterating carbon, controlling weeds, and increase water infiltration and conservation.

With practices like these, well-managed farms can be among the Bay's best friends.

Best Practices in Agriculture

Farmers check crop in field. Photo credit NRCS/Bob Nichols

Conservation practices, frequently called best management practices, or BMPs, are tools that farmers can use to reduce soil and fertilizer runoff, properly manage animal waste, and protect water and air quality on their farms. Read More

Raising Cows Green Equals More Green

Cows in pasture. Image: iStock

It's refreshing to meet Myron Martin, and other farmers like him. His is perhaps the most profitable dairy farm in the region. Read More

Solutions for Addressing Polluted Runoff—Construction

Silted runoff from home construction project. Copyright Krista Schlyer/iLCP

CBF has worked directly on contaminated runoff issues for about a decade, realizing that this pollution source threatens gains being made by other "point-source" and agricultural pollution reductions across the watershed. Read More


Photo credits: (from top) NRCS/Bob Nichols, iStock, © Krista Schlyer/iLCP

More Success Stories

These are the stories of local farmers who are making conservation practices work not only for streams and rivers, but for the health and economic success of their farms.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Blog - Agriculture Success Stories

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