(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement following the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the region will receive $19 million in additional funding as one of eight Critical Conservation Areas to be included in the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) under the federal Farm Bill. An additional $5.3 million was awarded from a fund set up for state projects that improve water quality.
The RCPP replaced several programs from the previous Farm Bill, including a program targeted to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region. Like that program, this new program is critically important to help farmers in the region implement the conservation measures needed to achieve the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint goals.
"Reducing pollution from agricultural runoff is the most cost effective way to improve water quality. Bay jurisdictions are relying heavily on agricultural conservation practices to achieve their clean water goals. The Bay states committed to putting in place the practices necessary to restore the Bay by 2025, but they are currently not on track to meet that goal.
"This additional funding, along with the matching funding and technical assistance by state governments and conservation organizations, is among the important steps needed to reduce pollution from agriculture.
"CBF commends the leadership of Senators Cardin and Mikulski, and the support of the other legislators representing the region, including Representatives Van Hollen, Harris, Wittman and Scott, who made this funding possible."