Throughout the Schuylkill River Watershed, there are many farms that are critical for providing food for the residents that live both in and outside of the watershed. However, runoff from farms can carry pollutants such as sediment or soil, excess nutrients, pesticides, fertilizers, and bacteria into local waterways. These pollutants can cause health concerns by impacting our drinking water sources. 

Fortunately, there are many best management practices (BMPs) that can mitigate the impacts of agricultural runoff. Some of these practices include cover crops, manure storage units, using organic fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater controls, cattle fencing, riparian buffers, and more. Protecting and improving soil health plays a big role in sustainable agricultural operations and protecting water quality. Check out this resource on soil health for more information.

Workgroup Co-Chairs:



Adams Farm

Over 5,270 feet of stream bank was fenced off to keep Adams Farm livestock and their manure out of the Maiden Creek, and dozens of Future Farmers of America students learned the importance of agricultural Best Management Practices while planting riparian buffers onsite. 

BAD Farm

Berks Nature worked with the BAD Farm to install a manure storage facility, a new barn to house the cattle, and streambank fencing and cattle crossings.

Dreibelbis Farm

With 75 acres of high-quality wetlands and seven stream buffer acres onsite, the pristine Dreibelbis farm offered a unique opportunity to proactively protect the Maiden Creek and three smaller tributaries from future agricultural runoff. 

Earl Martin Farm

The Earl Martin Farm now has a manure storage facility and a roofed barn with stormwater controls.

Guntz Farm

The Guntz Farm, located in the Manatawny Watershed, was able to restore approximately 1,350 feet of eroded streambank through the efforts of the Berks Nature. Phase 2 of the project included installing a concrete manure storage facility. 

Havens Farm

Manure management (liquid and dry), as well as stormwater controls, have been implemented on the Havens Farm to improve water quality.

Luft Farm

On the Luft Farm, best management practices, including stormwater controls and a cattle walkway were installed. 

Martin Farm

Located in the Irish Creek Watershed (a Schuylkill River tributary), the Martin farm is a great example of what can be accomplished with an environmentally aware landowner and the help of cooperating agencies.

Rabenold Farm

On the Rabenold Farm in Mill Creek a number of best management practices were installed, including streambank fencing, cattle crossing, and rain gutters. In addition, the farm received an updated Conservation Plan. 

Schroeder Farm

The Schroeder Farm is located on an unnamed tributary of Maiden Creek just upstream from Lake Ontelaunee which is the water supply for the City of Reading. The project included installing cattle crossings, streambank fencing, and planting a riparian buffer. In addition, phase 2 of the project included manure management, by retrofitting manure storage areas and installing rain gutters. 

Seidel Farms

Commonly grouped in clusters, family farms are ideal locations for Best Management Practice installations.  With over 300 acres of land, the Seidel Farms provided multiple opportunities to protect the very springs that form the headwaters of the Maiden Creek. 

Smith Farm

The Agriculture Workgroup installed streambank fencing, cattle crossings, and removed invasives along the stream.

Woolf Farm

The Berks County Conservation District installed stream bank and exclusion fencing, planted native trees and shrubs, and installed stormwater controls and a manure storage facilitiy on the Woolf Farm. 

Zimmerman Farm

Best management practices, including manure storage facilities and stormwater controls help to restore the Saucony Creek Watershed.

Related Documents

Name Upload Date Download View

SAN Agriculture Overview

January 9, 2018 Download View

Schuylkill Watershed Agricultural Lands

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Investing in Farms for Clean Water

Saucony Watershed Restoration Report

April 13, 2018 Download View

Saucony Creek Watershed Restoration Final Report

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Maiden Creek Watershed WQ Report 12-27-18

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A Farmer's Guide for Healthy Communities

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How Conservation Makes Dairy Farms More Resilient

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Biochar Presentation by Gary Gilmore 6-11-2020

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Maiden Creek NWQI Fact Sheet 2022

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Berks County 2023 National Ag Day Flyer

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