Chesapeake Bay Program

Due to recent changes in the PA DEP Chesapeake Bay Program, the highlighted watersheds of the county (outlined in the accompanying map) have become a greater focus for the Conservation District. As we begin to ensure farms have their required Conservation/Ag E&S Plans and/or Nutrient/Manure Management Plans, we will also continue to help farmers implement best management practices (BMPs).These practices may include large projects such as manure storages, stream buffers, and terrace systems. Although, initial BMPs such as no-till, cover crop, and contour farming demonstrate the greatest reduction in soil and nutrient loss while proving the greatest return in financial investment for the individual farmer/operator.

Chesapeake Bay watershed map
  1. Maps & General Information
  2. Project Assistance & Funding
  3. DEP Farm Visits

Chester County's region of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is comprised of the following six sub-watersheds: the Big Elk Creek, Conestoga Creek, Little Elk Creek, Northeast Creek, Octoraro Creek, and Pequea Creek.

Chesapeake Bay map 1

This area is roughly 126 square miles and is home to approximately 700 agricultural operations. Due to the density of farms, 95% of the streams within the watershed are rated as “impaired" by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. These impairments include pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment. Chester County Conservation District (CCCD) has committed to reducing these in order to improve water quality of local streams, as well as the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay map 2

The CCCD's dedication to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay began in 1985 when it signed a delegation agreement to become one of the six original Pennsylvania counties to participate in the Chesapeake Bay Program. Through this program, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been provided to farmers in the Bay region of the county to implement cover crops, no-till establishment, grassed waterways, terraces, stream crossings, streambank fencing, and other best management practices (BMPs). Additional programs within the region have historically included Growing Greener, PennVest, and EQIP. See the “Project Assistance” tab for more information on funding and technical assistance opportunities for your farm.

Chester County Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy (County Implementation Plan - CIP)

For more information, contact Dan Miloser, Agricultural Team Leader, 610-455-1380.