Latest Pennsylvania Water Quality Assessment Finds 40% of Waterways, Including Parts of Susquehanna, in Violation

A Bay Journal article (2019-06-06) reported that 40% of Pennsylvania's 85,000 miles of waterways, including a stretch of the Susquehanna River, are in violation of the state's water quality standards. The primary causes are agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage, and stormwater runoff. The findings are based on the state's latest water quality report for 2018. If the report is accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania must create a plan to address the violations. The state…

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Attend MPCA’s Annapolis Planning Commissioners Workshop to Discuss Regional Issues

The Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) is hosting a Regional Planning Commissioners Workshop in Annapolis on Friday, July 19. The Workshop is part of a regional series of workshops that highlights the role of being a planning commissioner, regional land use issues, and the technical assistance and resources that MPCA can provide. From the Workshop's flyer: Learn about the MPCA, network with fellow planners and commissioners, and  join us in a regional conversation Topics will…

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Cecil Farmers, Arts Council Partner to Host “The Market at 135”

A fun, educational collaboration involving art, history, land preservation, and agriculture is underway at the Cecil County Arts Council (CCAC) in Elkton. “Working in partnership with the Cecil County Arts Council, The Historical Society and the Cecil Land Trust, we are creating an educational space in downtown Elkton focused on Agricultural Education and Awareness,” explained Maureen O’Shea, Cecil’s Agribusiness Coordinator. According to a press release: Cecil County farms, including Luff Family Farms, Chesapeake Gold Farms,…

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Land Trust Alliance Offers Utility Scale Solar Siting Webinar

The Land Trust Alliance has opened registration for a November webinar on the responsible siting of utility scale solar facilities, particularly on lands subject to a conservation easement. The webinar, titled "Things are Heating Up: How to Site and Design Utility-Scale Solar Projects Responsibly," will take place on November 13, 2019. From the webinar's webpage: Your most ardent conservation-minded landowner comes to you wanting to put solar on her farm as part of her efforts…

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Federal CREP Funding Renewed for Stream Buffers on Farms; Many Existing Contracts Set to Expire

A Bay Journal article (2019-05-29) reported that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reopen signups for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) after an 8-month freeze. CREP, which has proven to be a key program in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, subsidizes farmers to replace cropland or marginal pastureland with native vegetation or forested stream buffers. In return for planting trees or other vegetation to enhance and protect water quality, CREP provides annual payments through 10-…

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MACo Submits Comments on “A Better Maryland”

MACo offered both praise and constructive criticism in its comments on the draft of the new state development plan, A Better Maryland. State law has required the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) to develop a statewide development plan for several decades. The Administration of Governor Martin O'Malley created the first plan, called PlanMaryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rescinded PlanMaryland and ordered the drafting of a new plan via Executive Order in 2017. MDP developed the new plan…

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Counties Converse on Land Conservation at MET Conference

County elected officials and professional staff turned out to discussed the importance of land conservation at an annual conference hosted by the Maryland Environmental Trust. The Maryland Land Conservation Conference & Symposium focused on land preservation from agricultural, environmental, historical, and recreational perspectives. The second day of the Conference focused entirely on the role of counties in land preservation efforts. The Conference was held on May 16 and 17 at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthincum…

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Commentary: Are Rural Areas Doomed to Stagnation?

In a commentary piece for The Conversation (2019-05-07), Iowa State University Associate Scientist of Economics David Swenson postulated that rural areas throughout the nation will likely continue to see economic and population declines. In the commentary, Davis stated: "[t]he facts are clear and unarguable. Most of the nation's smaller urban and rural counties are not growing and will not grow." Davis noted that metropolitan counties (counties with central cities with 50,000+ population) received about 99% of…

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Bay Journal Provides Overview of Each State’s Phase III WIP

A Bay Journal article (2019-05-03) summarized the approaches each Chesapeake Bay watershed state is taking in its Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) in order to meet its nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reduction goals under the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The Bay TMDL was established in 2010 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in response to litigation over the declining health of the Bay. The TMDL required all the states within the Bay watershed and…

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St. Mary’s Wins Grant for Regional Agricultural Center

The Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission (SMADC) recently selected St. Mary’s County’s proposal to build a Regional Agricultural Center (RAC). The RAC will provide a state-of-the-art meat processing facility as well as training and kitchen facilities for food entrepreneurs to learn to produce value-added foods using local agricultural products. The proposal will combine SMADC funding, existing county assets, and planned expenditures in the County's pipeline to create a local agriculture hub that benefits all of Southern…

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