Watch CBS News

New Federal Grants To Assist With Bay Projects

WOODSTOCK, Md. (WJZ)--Millions of federal dollars are coming to Maryland and they're going right into the ground.

Alex DeMetrick reports, it's being spent on farms to improve the bay.

For the Chesapeake to survive it needs open land--paved surfaces can't absorb and filter out nutrients harmful to the bay, but farms can.

Tens of thousands of acres acting as natural filters in Maryland, except when the fertilizer needed to grow crops and the waste produced by animals gets into waterways. Pollution that feeds algae blooms that create the bay's dead zones.

"You can have a viable agriculture and a viable environment. They go together," said Sen. Ben Cardin.

And $20,000,000 from the new federal Farm Bill is coming to Maryland to help make that connection.

"It's going to help with soil management, which helps farmers get more productivity out of their land, and yet reduces the pollution that goes into our water," said Cardin.

Projects like fencing off livestock from streams and planting cover crops that absorb excess fertilizer. But the biggest and most expensive challenge is finding ways to reduce the amount of chicken waste stored and spread onto fields and still remain in business as a farmer. The Farm Bill money might open the door to a fix which might help implement a healthier bay.

"And our farmers have shown that if you show them good science and research, provide them with financial and technical resources, they will implement those practices," said Buddy Hance, former Maryland Agriculture Secretary.

The 20-million dollars coming to Maryland is a lot of money, but represents only a small fraction of the 956-billion dollars in spending over the next ten years, authorized by the Farm Bill.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.