Octoraro Creek Pollution Reduction

Spanning 208 square miles throughout south east Pennsylvania and northeastern Maryland, the Octoraro Creek Watershed is home to approximately 1,000 agricultural producers, a drinking water reservoir that serves 250,000 people, and about 16 impaired waterways according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The main stem of the Octoraro Creek flows into the Susquehanna River, which is the largest freshwater contributor to the Chesapeake Bay, providing nearly half of all the Bay’s freshwater.

Of the 1000 farms in the Watershed, 70% of those are small, Plain Sect dairies. The abundance of Plain Sect farmers has led to serious local and regional water quality issues. Most water quality issues in the Octoraro stem from the use of conventional farming practices and a lack of sufficient conservation practices, allowing manure and fertilizers to easily flow off the farm into nearby waterways, causing dead zones in our waterways where aquatic life can no longer survive.

Lead by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Octoraro Watershed Association, this project consists of a cost-share program to help Plain Sect farmers pay for conservation practices, like manure storage facilities, barnyard stabilization structures, riparian forest buffers, etc. that will reduce the amount of pollution entering our local streams. This project will improve water quality and the health and abundance of wildlife within the Octoraro Creek Watershed, the Susquehanna River Basin, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. This collaborative approach to improving water quality issues through engaging the local watershed association, municipalities, federal and state agencies, water resources authorities, and other non-profit organizations, will have resounding effects across the community.

* Project utilizes best management practices to filter and/or reduce pollution inputs into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands or near-shore marine areas


Lancaster and Chester Counties, PA and Cecil County, MD

Start Up Date:


Project Benefits:

Water Quality Improvement

Wildlife & Habitat Protection

Project Type:

Pollution Reduction and Filtration *


Funding Needed