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Chesapeake Bay Program

Chesapeake Bay Program

men stasnding by cover cropIn 1976, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a 5-year study of the environmental quality and management of the Chesapeake Bay.

In 1983, Pennsylvania joined with other neighboring States and Districts, and the EPA in signing a Chesapeake Bay Agreement providing for a comprehensive and coordinated Bay restoration.

Half of the land area of Pennsylvania drains to the Chesapeake Bay from four major river basins, and Pennsylvania comprises 35 percent of the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The Susquehanna River is the largest tributary to the bay, providing 90 percent of the freshwater flow to the upper bay and half of the total freshwater flow to the bay. Simply stated, the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay cannot be restored without Pennsylvania's support. But even more important, water quality in Pennsylvania must be restored.

When it rains, these pollutants run off surfaces such as farm fields, streets, and parking lots and go right into streams and rivers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires Pennsylvania and our neighbors in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia—to reduce these pollutants by specific amounts by 2025.

Pennsylvania's 2025 Goals:

●     Nitrogen: Reduce by 34 million pounds per year

●     Phosphorus: Reduce by .7 million pounds per year

●     Sediment (soil): Reduce by 531 million pounds per year

Through the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Perry County Conservation District has various programs to help improve the water quality in the county.

Technical Assistance

We provide free technical assistance for environmental issues on farms such as gullies, sheet and rill erosion, pasture management, and manure related issues. We work closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide the best solution to the issue.

We also provide free assistance to help you write your manure management plan and agricultural erosion and sedimentation plan.


The Resource Enhancement and Protection program is a state tax credit program that the State Conservation Commission runs. Tax credits can be awarded for the development of agricultural plans, the purchase of conservation equipment and on farm best management practices (BMPs).

The District can help you with the agricultural plan verification needed for your application and some BMP verifications. There is a fee associated with some of the verifications. Please contact the office to discuss your application.

Agricultural Initial Inspections

Each year, 50 agricultural inspections are conducted at random around the county to see if the operation has the appropriate plans needed for the operation. Operations selected for the inspection will receive a letter in the mail, stating that they have been selected and asking them to call the office to schedule an appointment. If no plans exist for the operation, we will work with you through the process of obtaining/creating plans for your operation. Please see the pages for both the Manure Management Plans and the Agricultural Erosion and Sedimentation Plans to see if the plan applies to your operation.

men standing by planter


men at an equipment demo

john deere seeder

For more information on Pennsylvania’s phase I and phase II WIP’s  and the Chesapeake Bay Program visit www.dep.state.pa.us.

Perry County Conservation District’s County-wide Action Plan provides further explanation of the County’s strategy to assist in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

Agricultural Resource Specialist Lauren Leinbach is in charge of Chesapeake Bay Program. She can be contacted by phone at #717-582-8988 ext. 3003 or by email at lleinbach@perryco.org.