The Bay Watershed encompasses 6 states and works its way across 64,000 square miles of land before pouring billions of gallons of fresh water into the Chesapeake Bay on a daily basis. This fresh water, carrying essential minerals and nutrients, mixes with salty ocean water creating an estuary with ideal conditions for plant and animal life. Our nation’s largest and most productive estuary, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to over 15 million people and thousands of plant and animal species.

Chesapeake Bay watershed from the Chesapeake Bay Program


As the water draining into the Bay works its way across the landscape, it picks up pollutants that adversely affect life in the Chesapeake Bay. Rain water carries soil, excess nutrients, fertilizers and pollutants from agricultural operations, streets, industries, lawns and construction sites, ultimately ending up in the Bay. Impacts from these various pollutants can adversely affect the vital species within the Bay and the natural balance of the Bay.

Now, more than ever, people within the Bay drainage region realize that what they do on the land directly affects the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past fifteen years, various citizens, private groups, government agencies and businesses have been joining forces to clean up the Bay watershed. In order to restore and protect the resources of the Chesapeake Bay, all of us need to become better stewards of the land.

Technical Assistance 

The goal of the Franklin County Conservation District is to help local farms reduce nutrient and sediment runoff to local streams. We are able to offer design and installation technical assistance to farmers for a variety of best management practices (bmp’s) including manure storage, collection and treatment of barnyard runoff, waterways and diversions, stream bank fencing, and improved cattle walkways. We are able to utilize our District Engineer for the required certifications on liquid and semi-solid manure storage and we have other agricultural staff available to design and implement best management practices that do not require an engineering certification.

Cost Share Funding

We have partnered with NRCS to install bmp’s that are funded through their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and have other grant programs available to assist farmers in the design and installation of conservation practices.  These programs provide cost share funding for all of the practices listed above and many more.  If you would like to have a conservation district representative visit your farm for ideas on manure storage, collection and disposal of barnyard runoff or any other agricultural conservation practice, please contact Scott Metzger at 717-264-5499 or email at [email protected].  You can also contact John High at 717-264-5499 or email him at [email protected].