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 a health concern by impacting our drinking water sources.
Fortunately, there are many best management practices (BMPs) that can mitigate impacts from agricultural runoff. Some of these practices include cover crops, manure storage units, using organic fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater controls, and more. Use the interactive 360 farm tour below (we recommend viewing in full-screen mode) to see some of the ways that the Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) Agriculture Workgroup helps improve farming operations by addressing agricultural runoff.
Workgroup Chair: Lyn O'Hare, Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SAN Agriculture Overview
|January 9, 2018||Download||View|
Schuylkill Watershed Agricultural Lands
A map of the agricultural lands in the Schuylkill Watershed, includes cropland and pasture.
|January 3, 2018||Download||View|
Investing in Farms for Clean Water
Saucony Watershed Restoration Report
|April 13, 2018||Download||View|
Saucony Creek Watershed Restoration Final Report
|April 13, 2018||Download||View|
A Farmer's Guide for Healthy Communities
|August 23, 2019||Download||View|