Effective this month, Potter County’s continuation in the Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy will come to an end. The decision was made unanimously during June’s board meeting against implementing “Phase 2” of the program, administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. Also during the meeting, a representative from the DEP Bureau of Clean Water presented Phase 2 expectations and outcomes to the board, and ample time for questions and discussion followed.
The Reboot Strategy was originally introduced in 2016 to help meet EPA goals for Pennsylvania’s reduction of nutrient and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past two years, the District has applied the Strategy by assisting in development of Manure Management and Agricultural Erosion and Sediment (Ag E&S) Plans for 60 operations, and by gathering baseline information through visiting 100 Potter County farms within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Phase 2 of the Strategy would include scheduling compliance inspections by the District with farms previously involved in developing Manure Management and/or Ag E&S Plans in order to ensure active farmer application of practices outlined in plans, and overall success in meeting state regulations.
The Conservation District does not aim to be a regulatory entity. The District’s mission is to “provide and administer programs, plans, educational information, and technical assistance for conservation practices that protect the natural resources of Potter County” – not to enforce regulations or be perceived as an enforcement agency. For this reason, the District will not be continuing participation in the Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy and stringent farm inspections. From this point on, farmers must be aware that DEP may still conduct inspections, and the District will continue to provide assistance to farmers who request our services.
The District stands by its role as an educator and technical assistance provider, not as a regulator. Withdrawal from the program was a challenging decision, but one that was seen as most beneficial for local farmers and landowners of Potter County. If you have any questions or need assistance on your farm, please call the Conservation District at 814-274-8411, extension 4, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop into the office at 107 Market Street, Coudersport, PA 16915. We look forward to your continued support in working to make Potter County better as a whole.