At the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn
Point Laboratory, ARS chemists Laura McConnell (right)
and Jennifer Harman-Fetcho work with university scientists to monitor Chesapeake
Bay water quality and oyster health at the Horn Point oyster hatchery. USDA Photo by Scott Bauer.
At the eventódesigned to show research solutions that can reduce bay pollution from
farmsóMaryland Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley spoke about the role of farmers in
the bay cleanup.
One of the many displays on exhibit described another boost to bay research: selection
of the Choptank River watershed as one of 12 ARS research watersheds chosen nationally for
the new USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP).
"Both the EPA agreement and the CEAP project reflect an intensifying collaborative effort
to build on the bay research that BARC and the universities have engaged in for about two
decades now, working with EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey," said ARS Beltsville Area
Director Phyllis Johnson.
Johnson announced plans that include research to process manure into fuel and safer fertilizers.
Other plans announced included growing perennial grasses for fuels. These grasses are considered
bay-friendly because they do not require annual planting, which can cause soil to erode into the
bay. They also require less fertilizer, reducing the potential for nutrient pollution.
"We would also like to partner with other organizations to start a genetics program for aquatic
vegetation to help meet the goal of having 185,000 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation in the
Chesapeake," Johnson said. "We are discussing this with the University of Maryland at College
Park and the Eastern Shore, as well as the University of Maryland Center for Environmental
Science at Horn Point."
Tours and exhibits at BARC displayed the bay-related work of many of the center's 320 ARS researchers.