The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a plan to restore southeastern Pennsylvania’s Pequea Creek watershed.
The approval of the restoration plan means $2.2 million secured in 2021 by U.S. Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Ben Cardin of Maryland can be used to begin the project. Financial aid to develop the plan came from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
The 153-square-mile watershed is a heavily farmed area in Lancaster County, which sends more sediment and nutrient pollution into the Chesapeake Bay than any other county in the state, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which developed the restoration plan. Much of that pollution derives from agriculture.
To stem the flow of pollutants, a host of conservation practices will be used on farms, including cover crops, no-till agriculture, nutrient and animal-waste controls, streamside buffers, streambank fencing, streambank stabilization
and the removal of “legacy” sediment left from old mill dams.
Plain sects own a majority of the farms in the watershed. Church leaders helped tailor the plan.
“This will require decades of efforts, but with continued community support and funding, the Pequea will one day reach its vibrant potential,” said Brian Gish, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s watershed coordinator for southcentral Pennsylvania.