The Schuylkill River watershed provides drinking water to almost 2 million people. Encompassing almost 2,000 square miles (including much of Berks County!) about one quarter of this vital watershed is farmland. In Berks County, farmers are partnering with Berks Nature, the government, and other non-governmental agencies to keep this drinking water clean for everyone while still supporting a healthy agricultural industry.
This past October, this valuable and collaborative conservation work was featured in the Philadelphia-based Grid magazine, a publication that specializes in issues of climate change, local food systems, sustainability, urban wildlife, and social justice.
The article featured several local farmers in the Manor Creek watershed (part of the greater Schuylkill River watershed) including Peter Zettlemoyer and Chris Schucker who employ a multitude of conservation practices on their farms to protect water quality from cover cropping, strategic manure management, excluding cattle from local streams, and tree planting.
Berks Nature partners with Stroud Water Research Center and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary with funding from the William Penn Foundation to help farmers in these smaller, sub-watersheds of the Schuylkill to concentrate resources for maximum impact.
In the words of Lamonte Garber, Watershed Restoration Coordinator for Stroud Water Research Center, “These streams reflect change along a 400-year period. We are not going to turn this stream around in a decade, but these aggregated projects stacked up … all the way up to the mountain, that’s a really important part of the change we’ve got to make on the land.”