Best Management Practices(BMPs) can be used as a term to describe a type of water pollution control or treatment. Some practitioners also use the term BMP to describe both structural or engineered control devices and systems to treat polluted stormwater, as well as operational or procedural practices. For example, minimizing the use of chemical fertilizers or were and when these chemicals are applied.
In agriculture there are numerous BMPs that can be implemented on any operation or farm to control manure and sediment, stormwater, or chemicals. These BMPs first act as control devices to keep the clean water clean and capture and treat polluted water or divert and treat polluted water before it reaches our waterways. As rain water runs off our streets, parking lots, lawns, and other surfaces, it picks up pet waste, pesticides, fertilizer, oil, and other contaminants. If the water doesn’t evaporate or soak into the ground, it flushes straight into local creeks and rivers adversely affecting water quality and aquatic life.
Currents of runoff scour stream banks, destabilize the natural contours of the streams altering their depths. Eroded dirt from the runoff blocks sunlight from reaching underwater vegetation, and smother the aquatic homes of other life. As grasses and marine life die, fish and other creatures that rely on them are jeopardized. The runoff also carries nutrients that spur algae blooms, leading to low oxygen in the water resulting in fish kills.
The Venango Conservation District works with landowners who are involved in an agricultural practice with technical assistance or financially through finding grant funds. We received a grant for $18,000 to work with a landowner on installing BMPs on their farm. The funding was DEP Growing Greener distributed though the Northwest Commission. The BMPs designed to be installed will limit the amount of nutrient laden runoff leaving the animal area and divert clean stormwater around the premises limiting the pollutants entering a creek in Northern Venango County. Most creeks and open water in Venango County contain significant portions that are open to public fishing and are stocked with trout. Runoff from this farm not only effects the local watershed but then drains into the next watershed of Oil Creek which is within Oil Creek State Park.
*** If you are a landowner interested in any further information on how you can get technical assistance,***
questions answered or to inquire about potential grant opportunities,
call the Venango Conservation District or
email our Agriculture Technician at