Save the Bay Newsletter: Healing Headwaters, Pollution Hotspots, and Eating Local

clagett people and produce 1171x593

CBF's Clagett Farm staff feed local communities with practices that improve soil health, prevent pollution, and mitigate climate change.

Caroline Phillips

The Chesapeake Bay region’s food system profoundly affects the watershed and the people who live here. Our latest newsletter features stories about how to meaningfully address pollution from agriculture—the largest source of pollution to the Bay but also a critical part of our economy and way of life.

“When we take off narrow blinders, solutions become abundant,” writes CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk in a discussion of how to address pollution from agriculture and other challenges facing Bay restoration. The Chesapeake Bay region’s food system profoundly affects the watershed and the people who live here, and it was the subject of our fall issue of Save the Bay magazine. Agriculture covers nearly one-third of the watershed’s area, a use second only to forests, and produces upwards of $10 billion a year. It’s also the largest source of pollution in the Bay. Finding a balance will require rethinking not just the practices farmers use, but also the programs and policies needed to speed their adoption. The innovative program helping to protect the headwaters of the James River is one such example. The targeted restoration plans for the Conestoga River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is another. But it’s not just farmers. States will have to think about how they manage intensifying industrial agriculture in places like the Delmarva Peninsula. Individuals can also play a role—for example by supporting local growers that use regenerative farming practices. Other big stories this month include Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s election to chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council and the latest striped bass survey results, along with many opportunities to take action and get involved in our work.

CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk stands outside the front of the Philip Merrill Center on a fall day, the Save the Bay logo on the wall behind her.

CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk.

Setting the Table

Agriculture remains one of the biggest challenges to clean water, but it is also one of our biggest opportunities to be creative, innovative, and effective in creating the watershed of the future, writes CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk. Solutions require taking off narrow blinders, being willing to change, and bringing our best to the table.

A young man in an orange vest and orange CBF cap stands in a filed of recently planted trees.

Cory Conger, a forestry student and CBF’s Virginia Restoration Intern, checks a recently planted streamside buffer to help ensure the trees survive.

Codi Yeager/CBF Staff

Healing the Headwaters

In the place where the James River is born high in the Appalachian hills of Virginia, a new approach to an old conservation practice is revolutionizing the planting of forested buffers along stream sides. If scaled up, it could finally help states achieve what has remained elusive for years: getting a lot of trees in the ground, fast.

Man in high-waders stands in a stream with a net.

Brian Gish, CBF’s Watershed Coordinator for south-central Pennsylvania, creates restoration plans for impaired waterways.

Brian Gish/CBF Staff

Tackling Pollution Hotspots

“If Lancaster County alone were to clean up its waterways, the entire state [of Pennsylvania] would be well on its way to meeting the targets for the Chesapeake Bay,” says CBF’s Brian Gish. By creating restoration plans for impaired creeks and rivers in Lancaster and other pollution hotspots, Gish and his colleagues are helping to target restoration efforts where they are needed most. 

A sign warning Harmful Algae May Be Present sits in front of a waterway.

The community that might enjoy Higgins Millpond on the Transquaking River is warned about the dangers of swimming, boating, and fishing due to pollution and toxic algal blooms.

Codi Yeager/CBF Staff

Big Ag Tips the Scales

For the past two years, CBF and our partners have worked to ensure wastewater permits for the Valley Proteins rendering plant, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, are protective of water quality in the Transquaking River system. But the plant is emblematic of a bigger question: Can conservation practices keep up with intensifying livestock production in places like the Delmarva Peninsula?

Woman standing among crates of fresh produce.

Through its Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA), CBF's Clagett Farm serves 300 shareholders and provides thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local food banks. Elissa Planz, above, has served as CBF's Distribution Coordinator since March 2022.

Caroline Phillips

Why Eat Local

If we saved the Bay, what would a dream food system look like? That’s the question Jared Planz and the rest of the team at CBF’s Clagett Farm are working to answer by demonstrating regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health, prevent pollution, mitigate climate change, and feed local communities. Other local growers  are, too.

In the News

What You Can Do

  • It’s almost Halloween! Carve up your pumpkins with our free Ches-O’-Lantern stencils and spook your friends with fun facts about the five scariest critters in the Bay
  • From building oyster reef balls to planting trees, join us in the field to do great things for the Bay. Check out our events calendar
  • Spring applications for our Education Program are now open! Teachers, request your dates for our one-day boat, canoe, and streamside outdoor learning programs for students.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest Bay-saving efforts and breaking news by joining our SMS Action Network.
  • Trick or treat! Donate today and treat the Bay to a better chance at restoration this Halloween.


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

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Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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