Join Local Farmers Being Paid for Conservation Work

Farmers in the Choptank River watershed can receive incentive payments to implement conservation practices on their property through the Envision the Choptank program with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Envision the Choptank is a partnership that works to find collaborative solutions to restore fishable, swimmable waters to the Choptank River while working to meet the needs of local communities.

So far, Envision the Choptank has worked with farmers and landowners to install 51 acres of grass buffer, 20 acres of forest buffer, and 7 acres of wetland. These projects make up 34% the program’s goal for total practice installation, meaning there is still funding available for farmers and landowners who are interested in conservation work.

Recently installed tree buffer on a farm in the Choptank River watershed, planted as part of Envision the Choptank’s flexible tree buffer program.

One participating farmer, Fred Pomeroy, tried for three years to install a combination wetland and field buffer project on his farm. “Envision the Choptank’s supplemental financing made the difference. The project is now complete and represents an environmental and aesthetic improvement to my family farm.” The wetland restoration program offers $3,000 per acre to offset landowner costs.

Ben Tull, a farmer in Dorchester County, was able to use the Envision the Choptank grass buffer program to easily enroll over 20 acres on his farm. “The application was very simple with a lot of flexibility. It was very accommodating to my vision of how buffers would work into our farming practices and benefit the health of the farm and the environment. Envision the Choptankafforded us the opportunity to take some less productive acres out of grain production and put them to other use without any long-term commitment on our part.” The grass buffer program offers $900-$1300 per acre depending on the grass mix planted.

In addition to a wetland and grass buffer program, Envision the Choptank offers a tree buffer program that covers full implementation cost plus a bonus of $1,000 per acre installed. Trees can be planted near streams, along ditches, or in otherwise inoperable areas of an agricultural field. Caroline County farmer Adam Chaffinch credits the program with helping him to realize his farm’s overall objectives. “We were excited to learn of the tree buffer program as the area in question didn’t meet all the requirements for other programs. Envision the Choptank helped us recognize our vision to control erosion and protect wildlife on our farm while also contributing to the important effort of protecting our local waterways.”

If you have a resource concern on your property, an unproductive area, or are just interested in farm-friendly conservation practices, consider participating in Envision the Choptank’s programs. To be eligible, the farm property must be located in the Choptank River watershed; areas within the Choptank River watershed include portions of Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot, and Queen Anne’s Counties, Maryland, and Kent County, Delaware. For more information, contact Whitley Gray at wgray@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 ext. 202.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education.

shorerivers.org

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