Agricultural Conservation Practices: Clean Water and Climate Smart Investments

Nov 02, 2022
  • Description

The six states and the District of Columbia that share the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed are currently carrying out plans—called Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs)—to achieve the pollution reductions called for in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the science-based plan designed to restore the health of the Bay. The 2025 deadline for implementation is fast approaching and more than 90 percent of the remaining reductions must come from agriculture. Though progress has been made, it is still far short of what is needed. Increased funding for conservation practices, as outlined in the state plans, is therefore critical to success.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) worked with natural resource economists to estimate the economic impact of implementing the remaining agricultural conservation practices in the state plans. The analysis shows that investing in these conservation practices is truly that—an investment with positive economic effects above and beyond the cost. For every dollar spent implementing additional agricultural conservation practices under the Blueprint, the Chesapeake Bay region can expect $1.75 in economic returns to local businesses and workers through additional sales of goods and services and greater earnings, totaling $655.2 million annually through 2025. This investment will also support an estimated 6,673 jobs a year between 2020 and 2025.