Ricky Whitmore, an Adams County native, has been hired to lead the Adams County Conservation District’s Countywide Action Plan (CAP) to achieve local water quality improvements as part of state’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup responsibilities. The new position is funded through the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The CAP will promote local engagement through stakeholder-guided programs to apply best management practices that reduce nutrient and sediment loads from agricultural and urban sources. These practices will improve and protect the county’s water assets that provide for drinking water, agricultural, and recreational use.
As the Community Cleanwater Action Plan Coordinator, Whitmore will bring his knowledge as a lifelong county resident to his work with volunteer advisory teams to implement the plan. Currently, three major advisory teams will focus on agriculture, urban, and legislative/policy issues. Because the agricultural discussion topics are so varied, that group is further divided into six sub-teams: dairy precision feeding, waste storage facilities, riparian buffers, fruit growers, cover crops, and precision agriculture.
“I am optimistic that these advisory teams will help guide the Adams County Conservation District and the many other CAP partners on what is practical so we can make progress on the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions that were allocated to Adams County,” Whitmore said.
One of the first best management practices targeted will be the Dairy Precision Feeding of 8,000 cows, in which dairy farmers feed their cows just the right amount of feed. Not only does this produce fewer excess nutrients in the cow’s waste, it also saves our farmers money by not overfeeding. These practices already are being used to some degree, and the county should get credit for it and identify the gaps and resource needed to increase participation.
“These are the types of topics and solutions I hope to find for each of the CAP best management practices with assistance from the advisory teams,” Whitmore noted. We are focused on solutions that benefit both the environment and the landowners, whether the practice be for agricultural or urban. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I look forward to working with the community to come up with the best solutions to these challenges, Whitmore said.
For more information, contact Ricky Whitmore, Community Cleanwater Action Plan Coordinator for the Adams County Conservation District at firstname.lastname@example.org.