Nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment are major nonpoint source pollutants in the streams, rivers, and lakes in Pennsylvania’s 43 counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In large quantities, they choke out underwater plants and deprive fish and other aquatic life of oxygen, harming our local waters as well as the Bay, resulting in human health, environmental, and economic damage.
Agriculture is a main contributor of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. In fact, Pennsylvania is responsible for fully 69 percent of the nitrogen reduction the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires for the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. With more than 33,000 farms in our 43 counties in the watershed, agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of that reduction. (Residential, golf course, and other use of fertilizers carried by stormwater runoff account for a large part of the remainder.)
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the farming community in the Pennsylvania counties in the Bay watershed are partnering with DEP to tackle the problem of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution in our local waters while keeping a healthy agricultural economy.