The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published a press release on February 2, 2016, stating that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restored almost $3 million in funding to DEP based on the DEP’s recently announced Chesapeake Bay Clean Up strategy.
DEP’s “reboot” of its implementation plan to improve the Susquehanna River watershed and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay includes taking more enforcement action against farmers for failure to obtain and implement manure management and nutrient management plans.
DEP states that it will use the restored EPA funding to support the installation of best management practices, or BMPs, on farms and to support the operations of the County Conservation Districts.
DEP Secretary Quigley stated that this restoration in funding is just the start, however. He noted that Pennsylvania has a long road ahead of it when it comes to assembling additional resources and doing the work to improve local water quality and meet Chesapeake Bay standards.
Under DEP’s reboot, county Conservation Districts will assume greater enforcement responsibilities while continuing their traditional role of assisting farmers. The Bradford County Conservation District recently announced that it is having an open house to aid farmers who need to prepare and implement manure management plans. The District encourages farmers to get their plans completed as quickly as possible in order to avoid an enforcement action.
Farmers and businesses that have questions about DEP’s reboot strategy or who have concerns about potential DEP enforcement actions should contact our Agricultural Industry Group.