“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
The Kent Soil & Water Conservation District partners with local, state and federal agencies to help protect the Chesapeake Bay. The District works with landowner to install conversation practices to protect soil health and reduce runoff and nutrients from entering the Bay.
KSWCD was founded on May 8th,1938 and is the oldest soil conservation district in Maryland and the Northeast United States. The program for soil conservation districts was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the catastrophe of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s showed a need for conserving our soil. Soil scientist Hugh Bennett helped lead the initiative, and today there are over 3,000 soil conservation districts spanning across all 50 states.
The sediment and nutrient pollution that runs off the fields in Kent County eventually makes its way into the Chester or Sassafras Rivers which lead to the Chesapeake Bay. Too many nutrients can cause excessive algae known as algal blooms. When the algae die they are fed on by microbes that decompose them, and these bacteria take up dissolved oxygen in the water leaving less for other aquatic organisms. If there is too little oxygen to support certain species, the water is considered hypoxic and there can be what is referred to as a “dead zone” where little to no life can be supported. Sediment is an issue because first off, high quality top soil contains lots of nutrients needed by plants so if it gets washed away, the crops lose a valuable resource. Secondly, too much sediment in the water makes it less clear which blocks sunlight from reaching the underwater plants that produce oxygen. Sediment also affects animals by inhibiting the ability of predator fish to see and to hunt, smothering bottom dwelling species like oysters, and creating overall unfavorable conditions for aquatic life.
Kent County is bordered on three sides by water; the Sassafras and Chester Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Agriculture comprises around 65% of the land use therefore reducing nutrient and sediment pollution from agriculture can make a significant difference in improving water quality. The Watershed Implementation Plan sets up a series of goals for reducing pollution by creating a target Total Daily Maximum Load or maximum amount of pollution that is allowed to enter the Rivers or Bay each day.
Soil Conservation & Water Quality Plans (SCWQPs)
In 2013 we developed 128 SCWQPs to help farmers protect natural resources on 15,582 acres of farmland. Currently, there are 71,289 planned acres in the county.We worked with farmers to install 103 BMPs in 2013.
We were 2nd in the state of Maryland for acres of cover crops in 2014 with 64,851 acres signed up. In 2013 we provided technical assistance to 121 farmers who planted 44,392 acres of cover crops on their fields.
Erosion and Sediment Control
In 2013 we reviewed and approved 46 erosion and sediment control plans for construction projects on 861 acres.
Other Soil Conservation Districts in Maryland
Non Discrimination Statement: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)
122 Speer Rd, Suite 4 Chestertown, MD 21620 (410)778-5150x3