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SWAT Teams To Hit Chesapeake Farms

SWAT Teams To Hit Chesapeake Farms
Four NRCS teams to help Mid-Atlantic farmers install conservation measures.

During last week's U.S. House Ag Subcommittee hearing, Dave White, chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced that his agency is sending four Strategic Watershed Action Teams to Southeast Pennsylvania, the Delmarva Peninsula, and the Shenandoah Valley areas of Virginia and West Virginia. These SWAT teams will help provide more and targeted technical assistance and extra funding to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

NO WADING ZONE: Grassed and fenced stream buffer zones, streambank stabilization, conservation easements and nutrient management plans are a few of the Chesapeake clean-up tools likely to be used.

With Soil and Water Conservation Districts and state agencies strapped by budget cuts, the extra technical assistance will be welcome, according to Maryland State Conservationist Jon Hall. The teams will partner with conservation districts to help meet watershed implementation plans.

One goal, according to Hall, is to write and implement 350 comprehensive nutrient management plans on the Delmarva. Farmers in these targeted areas can expect an aggressive push plus cost-sharing incentives. The efforts aim to reduce sediment and nutrient loads headed for the Bay.

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