Agricultural lands provide one of the best opportunities to decrease sediment and nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Private landowners, including farmers, can play an important role in reducing the pollution that runs off their land by putting conservation practices into place.
One of the most effective conservation practices that can help combat runoff is restoring wetlands on agricultural lands. Wetlands also offer additional benefits, such as economic opportunities in the form of hunting and recreation.
The Chesapeake Bay Program, in conjunction with Green Fin studios, now has an online resource for the sole purpose of helping agricultural landowners prepare for wetland restoration on their land: Wetlands Work.
Wetlands Work is designed to address apprehensions by providing resources and information to landowners who are interested or may become interested in restoring a wetland on their land. The website provides information such as:
- The benefits of wetlands.
- The process of wetland restoration.
- A database of programs and planners (searchable by county).
- Success stories from landowners who have restored wetlands.
In 2014, the Bay Program partnership, including the six watershed states and the District of Columbia, agreed to restore 85,000 acres of wetlands on agricultural lands. This is an ambitious goal, and progress has been slow.
To address this challenge, the Bay Program’s Wetland Workgroup conducted landowner interviews in 2015 to gain information about why landowners were hesitant to install wetlands on their properties. The research found that landowners weren’t sure about where to start or what the process entails, and that they had a level of distrust towards outside agencies managing their land—three concerns that are easy to address.
The resources found on this website can help inspire landowners to reach out to the contacts in their area to begin wetland restoration.
Visit Wetlands Work.