Working together to improve Lancaster County’s water quality

Working together to improve Lancaster County’s water quality.
The recent Brubaker Run restoration effort (“Lime Spring Square’s flood plain restoration to save land, help bay and spare taxpayers,” May 1 LNP, insider) captures perfectly an innovative approach that land owners should consider as Lancaster County embraces the twin goals of providing appropriate economic growth and sustainable environmental benefits for its citizens.
Here and throughout the eastern United States, these practices included the damming or impoundment of nearly all small streams, primarily to generate power for a wide range of agricultural, timbering, manufacturing and related uses.
In Lancaster County alone, the 1840 census registered more than 400 such mill dams.
Most recently, it was the focus of a two-day workshop by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee.
WSI mapping data presented at the conference show that erosion is occurring in local watersheds at a much greater rate than previously thought, injecting enormous amounts of sediment and associated nitrogen and phosphorus into local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
WSI’s scientific analysis of imaging data and field research has demonstrated that along the banks of the Chickies Creek watershed alone, erosion of 81,000 cubic meters of sediment occurred between 2008 and 2014.
Each mile of stream in just this watershed contributes an average of 105 tons of sediment per year to the county total, impairing the quality of local water on its way to the Chesapeake Bay.
Chickies Creek is just one of 12 watersheds in Lancaster County with such challenges.
Developing a set of policy proposals and restoration strategies — such as flood plain restoration, public-private partnerships, municipal offset alternatives and enhanced riparian buffer programs — that reflects this new information will benefit taxpayers.

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