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Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Inspection Program

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Strategy, DEP and participating county conservation districts (CCDs) follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Inspection Program (BCW-INSP-018) when conducting inspections on agricultural operations. The inspections conducted as part of the Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Inspection program are completed to ensure compliance with agricultural planning and implementation requirements found in the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. Participating CCDs conduct the inspections. Where the CD chooses not to participate, DEP personnel conduct the inspections.

Since the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Inspection Program in 2016, compliance rates have consistently been above 60% at the time of inspection and nearly all inspected agricultural operations have met their planning obligations by end of the fiscal year they were inspected.

Additionally, CCD and DEP staff are using inspections as an educational tool to help farmers understand the benefits of implementing their required planning documents. Once implemented, the best management practices within their plans will help ensure long-term farm sustainability, environmental protection, and nutrient and sediment reductions.

According to the Pennsylvania Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, the Chesapeake Bay Inspection Program contributed annual nitrogen reductions of 487,000 pounds, phosphorous reductions of 13,400 pounds, and sediment reductions of 31,959,000 pounds.