Pa.’s Chesapeake Bay Report: Good News/Bad News
Monday, July 7, 2014
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
ANNAPOLIS, MD - A recent assessment by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) found that Pennsylvania has exceeded some of its Chesapeake Bay clean up goals and fell short of others.
According to the report, the state exceeded its goal for phosphorus cleanup and but fell short in reaching its overall nitrogen pollution reduction goal.
Turf Grass Fertilizer DebateThese two goals are most important in the current debate over whether turf grass fertilizers should be more tightly regulated in Pennsylvania. SB 1149, currently in the state Senate Appropriations Committee, would restrict the application rate for turf grass fertilizers. PLNA opposes the legislation because it is not based on sound science and conflicts with a recent EPA study which concluded that healthy turf grass reduces Bay pollution (see PLNA eNews article February 2014).
According to the report:
Of the eight practices evaluated in the CBF assessment, the Commonwealth met or exceeded its goals for four practices: barnyard runoff controls, stormwater infiltration practices, wastewater treatment plants, and conservation plans. It fell short in four areas: forest buffers, conservation tillage, nutrient application management, and erosion and sediment control.
While Pennsylvania farmers have made significant strides since 1985 in pollution reduction, some practices are falling short of achieving commitments. To help attain this essential goal, improved investment in cost-share and technical assistance programs that to help farms develop and implement required erosion and nutrient plans is necessary. Because these plans have been required by law for decades, adequate enforcement to ensure that all farms not only have them but are following them correctly is imperative.
"As the largest contributor of nitrogen pollution damaging the Chesapeake Bay, Pennsylvania has an important responsibility to meet its pollution reduction goals," said CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. "This effort is bigger than one community or one industry. The effort begins in our own backyards and in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. Investments made here have benefits here—protecting drinking water and human health, improving the quality of life in local communities, and improving agricultural production."
Pennsylvania also needs to continue to expand innovative approaches that maximize environmental benefits, such as CBF's buffer bonus program. The program rewards farmers who establish riparian forested buffers with vouchers to cover additional pollution-reduction practices needed on the farm.
No Mention of Turf Grass FertilizerThe report did not mention turf grass fertilizer as being a contributor to Pennsylvania’s lack of progress in meeting its nitrogen goals.
To read a full copy of the CBF report, click here.