Environment and Natural Resources in Wicomico County

Linking Agriculture, Natural Resources, and the Environment

Farming’s impacts on natural resources and the environment are getting more and more attention these days—nowhere more so than here in Maryland, where the Chesapeake Bay is so important for commercial, recreational, and symbolic purposes.  Farmers have traditionally been concerned with protecting the natural resources that provide the basis for continued agricultural productivity. They have installed erosion control measures to guard against loss of topsoil, changed farming practices to maintain soil quality, and adjusted pest management strategies to make best use of natural enemies, among other measures, as part of their efforts to make more efficient use of those resources. More recently, nutrient management has been a focal point for efforts to enhance the efficiency of fertilizer use and protect water quality at the same time.  Maryland has also undertaken significant efforts to protect and expand the positive contributions agriculture makes to environmental quality by providing open space, scenery, and habitat for wildlife.

Extension and research faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics continue to study policies for handling the complex interactions between agriculture, natural resources, and environmental quality.  To date, they have concentrated on the following areas:

  • Nutrient and poultry litter management
  • Nutrient trading and water quality
  • The use of best management practices for erosion and runoff control
  • The economics of riparian buffers
  • The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Water and the Chesapeake Bay

Improving water quality through stormwater management and watershed restoration techniques

Watershed Restoration Specialists work with local and state governments, watershed organizations, and community groups in Maryland to build partnerships, identify funding sources, and advise/assist in the planning, implementation and monitoring of restoration projects. Specialists facilitate measurable reductions in water pollution in the following ways:

  • Classes and workshops teach homeowners how to improve water quality in their own backyard with practices like rain barrels, rain gardens, and tree planting
  • Technical Assistance Programs help communities address Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) regulations and requirements
  • Watershed Restoration Projects emerge from collaborative partnerships and effective funding techniques to reduce nutrient and sediment loads
  • Watershed Restoration Specialists also connect watershed science to policy makers and community leaders to make the most effective water quality decisions.

While a flood isn't always predictable, homeowners can take steps now to prepare just in case it does happen.  Click here for a resource from the Maryland Department of the Environment.