On Tuesday, the US Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) released a draft report that, given their usual alignment with agricultural interests, is surprisingly straightforward in its assessment of the inadequacy of conservation practices in place on farms in the Chesapeake Bay region. The report titled “Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region” is the second in a series from the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), initiated by the USDA in 2003.
Through the CEAP, USDA aims to (1) take stock of conservation practices currently used in watersheds and the effects they have on water quality, (2) estimate the need for additional conservation practices, and (3) calculate the potential outcomes if additional conservation practices were put into place. To generate data for the report, the USDA employed various methods including a farmer survey to assess current usage of conservation practices; a statistical survey of conditions and trends in soil, water and other natural resources; and three environment and watershed models. Read More >