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​Bay Restoration Strategy Background

Pennsylvania's Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan, our current operational roadmap, draws heavily on a predecessor  document developed in 2016 -- the Bay Restoration Strategy.  This document was comprised of several short, mid and long-term recommendations, aimed at augmenting its approach to water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The restoration strategy was a collaborative effort between the Departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources, along with other stakeholders in the design, development and implementation of the reboot strategy. DEP and its partners are working together to coordinate plans, policies and resources. The goals of this strategy include:

  • Putting high-impact, low-cost Best Management Practices (BMPs) on the ground and quantifying undocumented BMPs in watersheds impaired by agriculture or stormwater.
  • Improving reporting, record-keeping and data systems to provide better and more accessible documentation.
  • Addressing nutrient reduction by meeting EPA's goal of inspecting 10 percent of farms in the watershed, ensuring development and use of manure management and agricultural erosion and sediment control plans, and enforcement for non-compliance.
  • Identifying legislative, programmatic or regulatory changes to provide the additional tools and resources necessary to meet federal pollution reduction goals by 2025.
  • Obtaining additional resources for water quality improvement.

The strategy relies on a mix of technical and financial assistance for farmers, technology, expanded data gathering, improved program coordination and capacity and – only when necessary – stronger enforcement and compliance measures.

The agriculture industry is responsible for contributing three-quarters of the total nutrient reductions expected of states by 2025. That's a sizeable sum, and no small task, but we know there are countless farmers who are doing their part.

One of Pennsylvania's big challenges is that of outdated data. DEP has been actively working with conservation districts, agricultural industry leaders, other state and federal agencies in order to track and report more previously implemented practices to ensure accounting of existing implementation.

One of the measures taken by DEP is a collaborative effort with PDA, Penn State and other stakeholders to complete a comprehensive, voluntary farm survey to locate, quantify and verify previously undocumented BMPs. A second survey was conducted in 2020 in Adams, Franklin, Lancaster and York counties.

We want Pennsylvania farmers to obtain maximum credit, both publicly and in the Bay model, for the good work they are doing to restore local water quality.

DEP has developed a state-of-the-art mobile platform for data collection across the entire watershed that provides a standardized method of delivery for all county conservation districts.

Chesapeake Bay Restoration Strategy

Pennsylvania Restoration Strategy Webinars