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Join in Your County Effort for Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities

The Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan takes a county-by-county approach to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and bring the benefits of healthier waters to communities. 

Testing a waterway in York County

There’s never been a stronger partnership of Pennsylvanians working together to reduce runoff water pollution in the watershed. Four counties in the watershed have developed their Countywide Action Plans and have begun putting projects on the ground: Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, and York. Four counties are now developing their plans: Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, and Lebanon. Thirty-five other counties in the watershed will begin their planning process over the next two years. 

Success depends on a diverse group of local participants! Help improve your local water quality and benefit your community by joining local leaders and neighbors in your Countywide Action Plan.

“Our plan presents an opportunity to reinvigorate local watershed organizations and county residents in rallying together to implement the plan’s BMPs (Best Management Practices) to achieve local water quality improvements.”  Franklin County team

Who can join in?

York County Master Watershed Stewards.jpgAll residents who care about local waters and their community are welcome to get involved in their Countywide Action Plans! We have a particular need for thoughtful input from: 

  • Streamside property owners
  • Leaders in sectors with strong connections to waterways, such as local government, agriculture, forestry, construction, and water and wastewater treatment
  • Local environmental organizations, such as watershed associations, garden clubs, Master Watershed Stewards/Naturalists, etc. 
  •  Outdoor organizations, such as Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Alliance for the Bay, etc.
  • Civic groups such as Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, etc.

The process of first developing a Countywide Action Plan and then putting planned projects on the ground provides a forum for local leaders and community members to work together and make decisions about how best to meet pollution reduction goals in ways that benefit communities. If you’re interested in bringing your voice to the table, rolling up your sleeves, and putting your boots on the ground, this will be a meaningful volunteer experience for you. As a volunteer, you can expect to:Monitoring a stream in Lancaster County

  • Attend meetings and conference calls with local partners
  • Brainstorm solutions 
  • Help with outreach to potential partners
  • Be an advocate for your county's water
  • Offer opinions on the best way to meet the goal set for your county.
  • Help put water quality improvement projects on the ground

“Lancaster County residents have a strength and determination to succeed... We see Phase 3 WIP plan development as an opportunity to create a local strategy to make our county’s streams clean and clear within our generation.” Lancaster County team

How to join in

The best way to join your Countywide Action Plan is to reach out to the county coordinator. Just click on your county below to get the contact information for him or her. 

If you prefer, another option is to contact the DEP Chesapeake Bay Office using this simple online form and we’ll provide your contact information to your county coordinator so you can get involved.  

Phase 1 – Pilot and Tier 2 Counties

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Phase 2 – Tier 3 and 4 Counties

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Why join in?

A creek in Franklin CountyImproving the health of local streams, rivers, and lakes benefits residents, farmers, business owners, and municipalities across the watershed.


  • Have safer drinking water supplies
  • Enjoy the water recreation opportunities that make Pennsylvania special
  • Lessen your flooding risk
  • Avoid higher water treatment costs
  • Save your land--reduce land loss due to erosion
  • Avoid new or expanded federal regulations 


  • Improved soil health and retention 
  • Increased profitability for farms
  • Learn about new or additional funding opportunities
  • Increased farm sustainability due to reduced erosion and increased livestock health due to cleaner water sources
  • Reduced tillage costs
  • Credit for existing BMPs
  • Avoid potential higher costs for compliance
  • Stronger voice in environmental planning
  • Positive public perception
  • Avoid increased regulation and governmental oversight on farms

Local government leaders

  • You retain control of your agenda for local water resources
  • You identify new pollution and flood reduction solutions
  • You identify previously unknown grant and cost-share opportunities
  • This planning can help your community solve local problems while meeting its share of the state’s goals. 
  • Developers and construction companies
  • A predictable regulatory and permit program, managed by state and local officials
  • Increased access to technical and cost share assistance for stormwater controls
  • Avoid stepped up federal enforcement of stormwater permits
  • Avoid stricter water quality standards in areas where streams run to the Potomac or Susquehanna rivers

Environmental organizations 

  • Local stakeholders renew their commitment to do their part 
  • Cleaner water sooner
  • Partners achieve shared goals
  • Your supporters see success for your efforts
  • Increased awareness of funding opportunities
“Healthier streams and rivers mean clean drinking water in the county, recreational opportunities, the protection of animal and plant life in streams, plus the overall improved quality of life for people that a healthy environment brings.” York County team