Bay Journal

Topics: Pollution

Outreach strategies cropping up to help growing number of female farmers

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One of the biggest changes to the face of agriculture and forestry these days in Chesapeake Bay states is women. That new demographic is leading some environmental groups and government agencies to launch new strategies for engaging female decision makers in projects that help water quality.

The unprecedented numbers tell part of the tale. Approximately 59% of farmland in Maryland is now owned or co-owned by women, or a woman makes decisions on the farm. Women hold those roles on 54% of farmland in Virginia; 55% in Pennsylvania, 53% in West Virginia and 60% in New York, according to the federal 2017 Census of Agriculture.

During the 5-year survey period, the number of male farmers declined by 1.7% nationwide while female ag producers leaped by 27%.

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Cruel world awaits neglected streamside buffers

The “green” plan for the new shopping center carved from a historic farm in Lancaster County, PA, looked impressive on paper and in the newspaper: hundreds of native trees and shrubs would be planted along a stream to benefit water...

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About Pollution

Nutrient pollution, the nitrogen and phosphorus that originates from farms, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff and air pollution, is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake. In the Bay, they spur growth of algae blooms which block sunlight needed by important underwater grass beds. When the algae dies, they are decomposed in a process that depletes the water of oxygen needed by other species.

Sediment eroded from the land and streambanks degrades stream health and reduces water clarity. Toxins and other chemical contaminants also pose a direct threat to fish throughout the Bay and its watershed.

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