The following op-ed first appeared in The Free Lance-Star last week.
Your June 5 "Bay partnership" editorial was spot-on in praising the Department of Agriculture's innovative $2.4 billion conservation funding program for farms in the Chesapeake Bay region and around the country.
Installing conservation practices on farms is the most cost-effective way to reduce pollution.
Bay region farmers have made great strides to reduce agricultural runoff, many using state and federal cost-share programs, partnering with nonprofits or paying for conservation practices out of pocket.
As a result of these and other cleanup efforts, the Bay is actually starting to show promising signs of recovery, from rebounding underwater grasses to bigger oyster harvests to smaller summer dead zones.
Such progress is testament to what can happen when government, businesses and citizens work together for clean water.
USDA's new program promises to increase partnerships and progress. We still have a long way to go, but every step forward brings us closer to restoring our local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. And we have a Clean Water Blueprint that details how to reach the goal.
--Ann Jennings, CBF's Virginia Executive Director