The Chesapeake Bay Watershed reaches from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia.
It is 64,000 square miles long and is fed by 50 major rivers and streams, including the Potomac River. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) pays the agricultural producers to give up their land for the watershed, instead of using Best Management Practices (BMP). The CREP improves health to the watershed and the BMPs lesson the amount of pollution reaching the watershed. Even though they both have significant advantages, I do not support the CREP; it reduces the amount of food being grown, which results in higher food prices. With less land being used, it makes it difficult for farmers to produce more food. In 1997, the total percent of farmland in the United States was 42.2%, in 2002 it was 41.
4%, but within the next five years, the total percent of farmland dropped down to 40.8%. That might seem like a slight drop in those 10 years, but that means 59.2% of the world is paying for food at a higher price to which they did not work. In the Chesapeake Bay alone, 23% of the land is used for agricultural purposes, while most of the remaining 77% of the land is being forested. Different rivers that feed the watershed uses more agricultural land than others.
For example, the Choptank River Watershed uses 48% of land, whereas the Patuxent River Watershed is much more developed by using only 32% of agricultural land. Poor management use of the agricultural acres may pollute the watershed, therefore will cause serious harm to many places. Polluting the watershed can be detrimental to the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2015, agriculture contributed 42% nitrogen, 55% phosphorus and 60% sediment entering the Bay. I feel that the CREP does not have to buy agricultural land if it is taken care of properly. If the land is managed well, it can offer the watershed several benefits and services, such as crop yields, restored river and streams, and valuable insect, bird and animal habitats. These systems could store carbon, minimize soil erosion, reduce the vulnerability to flooding and the effects of climate change. These are the reasons I do not support the CREP system.
They buy land from agricultural producers, which take away from the food being grown which feeds our country.