CTIC Conservation in Action Tour Draws 130+ to Chesapeake Bay

About 130 farmers, agency staffers, soil and water conservation district personnel, environmental and agribusiness leaders, and others gathered on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay for CTIC’s “Bringing Back the Bay” Conservation in Action Tour July 10 and 11.
The Chesapeake Bay has become the proving ground for a wide range of best management practices (BMPs) designed to protect the fragile system from excess nutrients and sediments flowing in from a 64,000-square-mile watershed that reaches all the way into New York State. Area farmers have become experts in managing nutrients at every level, from applying manure and commercial fertilizer to minimizing runoff from their fields.
In addition to perspectives on innovative practices from a range of crop, dairy and poultry producers, Conservation in Action Tour participants heard from Hoopers Island Oyster Company co-founder Johnny Shockley and Oyster Recovery Partnership fisheries scientist Julie Reichert-Nguyen. The shellfish experts described not only how agricultural practices impact oyster fisheries in the Bay, but also how oysters play a role in reducing nutrient levels in the system and could be managed in conjunction with other water-protecting BMPs. Agricultural advisor Kelly Shenk of U.S. EPA tied together the broad spectrum of stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Chip and Jason Councell—the 10th and 11th generation on their family farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore—shared their conservation ethic as well as their consumer-focused marketing program, while Bobby and Kyle Hutchison demonstrated how they live up to the sign in their office that reads, “Maryland Farmers Protect the Bay Every Day” on their diversified grain and vegetable operation.
Even the relatively new site of the tour dinner, the 2015-vintage Triple Creek Winery, is rooted in five generations of local farming by the Spies family. With deep roots in the community and the eyes of Washington—and the world—focused on the Bay’s recovery, the farmers and fishermen of Maryland’s Eastern Shore are pushing conservation into a new era. Next year’s Conservation in Action Tour—CTIC’s 12th annual—will be held in the Des Moines area. Watch www.ctic.org/CIATours for details so you can mark your calendar and join us!
Conservation in Action Tour participants fill the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.
Conservation in Action Tours provide a close-up look at BMPs.
Alex Echols of Ecosystem Services Exchange describes controlled drainage management systems.