Bay Journal

Topics: Conservation + Land Use

To save farmland in Cumberland County, PA, officials look to Lancaster

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Farmland preservation has become an increasing priority in Cumberland County, PA, where residential and commercial development — especially for large warehouses — is putting steady pressure on what’s left of the rural landscape. The drive to pick up the pace of farmland preservation has led to a budding partnership between the Cumberland County Department of Planning and the neighboring county’s Lancaster Farmland Trust to see if the nonprofit organization might extend its work into Cumberland County.

“There is definitely a need,” said Jeff Swinehart, deputy director of the trust.

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Keep covering Fones Cliffs

I would like to thank the Bay Journal for continued, in-depth coverage of the damages and violations at Fones Cliffs along Virginia’s Rappahannock River. It is clear that many citizens across the Chesapeake landscape are concerned about...

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About Conservation + Land Use

Since colonial times, no change to the Chesapeake ecosystem has been greater than the alteration of its landscape. A vast expanse of forest once absorbed most of the rainfall and held most of the sediment in place.

Over time, the forests have been replaced with farms and development, all of which have greatly increased the amount of runoff and pollution reaching streams and the Chesapeake Bay. While forests still comprise the greatest land use in the region, they have been greatly altered, consisting of smaller trees and lacking many of the species — such as American chestnut — that were common in the past.

The rapid rate of development in recent decades has accelerated the spread of impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs and parking lots, dramatically increasing runoff and degrading stream health throughout the region. Conservation efforts are underway to identify, and protect, some of the high priority landscapes and resources that remain.

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