Amount Requested: $10,000 for the Agricultural Stewardship Management Initiative
Mission: The mission of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is to protect and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the abundance and diversity of its living resources. Our two principle goals are to improve water quality by reducing nutrient pollution and to train Bay constituents to take an effective role in restoration and protection of our natural resources.
Constituents Served: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) works with all communities and people within the six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed. The impact of CBF’s work, from farm communities, to schools, to urban watersheds, to restoration work on the Bay, impacts the lives of the more than 17 million Bay watershed inhabitants every year.
Program Overview: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is saving the Chesapeake Bay – North America’s largest estuary and a National Treasure – through a comprehensive, science-based approach that includes environmental education, public outreach and engagement, advocacy, litigation, and on-the-ground restoration. CBF is the only environmental organization that works throughout the entire 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed, standing-up for the Bay and its rivers and streams and reducing pollution and improving the quality of life for the region’s 17 million residents and over 3,600 species of plants and animals. CBF’s Agricultural Stewardship Management Initiative seeks to continue its previously successful work conducting outreach to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed of Virginia. Each year, our staff works with more than 100 farmers throughout the watershed, and primarily in the Shenandoah Valley, to implement best management practices (BMP) that reduce the nutrient loading to the tributaries of the Bay and increase productivity and profitability of the farms. We work with these farmers to help them design and implement various BMPs; from stream fencing to keep cattle out of streams, to installation of watering stations for cattle, to riparian buffer planting to restore forest cover to stream banks, and others.
CBF will provide education and technical assistance to farmers to encourage the adoption of state and federal conservation and farmland protection programs. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released enforceable pollution limits for the Bay. Subsequently, the six Bay states and the District of Columbia developed plans to meet those limits by 2025. CBF’s Agricultural Stewardship Management Initiative will educate farmers about ways they can implement the Clean Water Blueprint on their farms in order to protect and improve water quality. Through the proposed project, staff will work one-on-one with agricultural producers and communities throughout Virginia’s Bay watershed, with a focus on the Shenandoah Valley and Central Blue Ridge region (counties of Augusta, Highland, Nelson, and Rockingham). Agriculture continues to the largest source of nitrogen pollution entering the Bay each year. Augusta County is ranked second in production of dairy and poultry in Virginia and ranked first in farm acres and farm size for the state. Highland County is low in agricultural production, but important to the Clean Water Blueprint, as it is home to many headwater streams that feed the larger tributaries to the Shenandoah and protecting waterways at their sources makes downstream conservation much more effective. Nelson County is a blend of both agricultural production, with increasing numbers of acres under cultivation and average size of farm over the past decade, and of headwater streams and is thus important for both objectives. Targeting these counties will therefore target two of Virginia’s largest concentrations of agricultural operations and two of Virginia’s headwater stream counties.
Current Operating Budget: $26,795,076