A Conewago Story Tells of Watershed Community Success in Cleaning Up Chesapeake Bay
Posted: January 10, 2014
A community based partnership in a small watershed in southcentral Pennsylvania is beginning to yield exciting results for improved water quality and a model for Chesapeake Bay restoration.
Over the last several years, a partnership of over thirty organizations called the Conewago Creek Initiative has been working cooperatively to increase watershed engagement and work with farmers and landowners to adopt land management practices to improve water quality. The partnership is facilitated by the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center, and supported by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Further support is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s designation of the Conewago as a “Showcase Watershed” and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Section 319 nonpoint source pollution control program.
“Through the hard work of Conewago partners, farmers and other landowners, an incredible amount has been accomplished in the last five years,” said Matt Royer, Director of the AEC and the project coordinator for the Conewago Initiative. “Over a thousand residents participated in workshops and events. Nearly every farm now has a conservation plan. The rate of implementation of several priority conservation practices increased, some dramatically. And improved results in fish and aquatic insect sampling are early signals that the stream is improving.”
“The Conewago Initiative is a model for watershed restoration everywhere,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Chris Abruzzo. “It is a great example of how state and federal resources can be leveraged by hard working local partners, volunteers and citizens to increase conservation on the ground and achieve success toward reaching clean water goals.”
Penn State Public Media recently released A Conewago Story, a video documenting the work of the Initiative and the Conewago’s farmers and other residents.
“The video should be mandatory viewing for anyone involved in conservation,” said Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jay Howes. “It shows what local partnerships, farmers and citizens can do together to improve water quality.”
For more information on the Conewago Creek Initiative, visit www.conewagoinitiative.net.