College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agricultural & Resource Economics

Water Quality

The Chesapeake Bay is one of the greatest natural assets of our region. Despite extensive restoration efforts during the past 30 years, insufficient progress and poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay have prompted the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL). The Bay TMDL is the largest ever developed by the EPA and thus has garnered national attention. It encompasses the entire 64,000 square mile watershed spanning across six states (MD, PA, VA, DE, WV, NY plus DC) and sets limits on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the Bay.

Extension and research faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics continue to analyze policies and incentive programs whose goals are to improve water quality.  This analysis focuses primarily on nonpoint sources of water pollution from agriculture, urban stormwater and septic sources. The potential for nutrient trading is also assessed given the high variation in costs for urban versus agricultural nutrient reduction practices.

Urban Stormwater Best Management Practices

Adoption of Household Stormwater Best Management Practices”. David Newburn, Anna Alberini, Amanda Rockler, and Alison Karp. University of Maryland Extension, 2013.

Agricultural Best Management Practices

Best Management Practice Use and Nutrient Management in Maryland: A 2010 Snapshot”, Erik Lichtenberg, Doug Parker, and Sarah Lane, Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, February 2012.

Septic Law (SB 236) and Residential Development

Development Capacity and the Impact of the Septic Law in the Baltimore Metro Region”, David Newburn, presentation to the Baltimore Metropolitan Council Reservoir Technical Group, May 2013.

Nutrient Trading and Water Quality

"Fundamentals of Nutrient Training"David Newburn, presentation at the Nutrient Trading Symposium, January 2016.

Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy. 2012. "From Ohio to the Chesapeake."  Research Briefs. 2(1).

Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy. 2012. "Simulated Trading for Maryland’s Nitrogen Loadings in the Chesapeake Bay: A Policy Overlook." Research Briefs. 1(7).

Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy. 2012. "Water Quality Credit Trading." Research Briefs. 1(2).

Nutrient Management and Poultry Litter Management Issues

"Economic Value of Poultry Litter Supplies in Alternative Uses," Erik Lichtenberg, Doug Parker, and Lori Lynch,  Center for Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy, October, 2002

Additional Resources on Water Quality

  • College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

            Agricultural Nutrient Management Program

            Water Quality and Environmental Programs

  • Chesapeake Bay Program

            Water Quality Information

  • Maryland Department of Agriculture

            Nutrient Management Programs in Maryland

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