USDA Conservation Innovation Grant – Chesapeake Bay
The Conservation Management Institute
is working in partnership with
FDC Enterprises and landowners in the Chesapeake Bay to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits
of native warm season grass plantings, both in the form of agricultural and riparian buffers and as
This strategy will involve:
1) Planting of native, perennial warm season grasses throughout Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed,
especially in priority areas, see map
2) Collecting economic monitoring data relevant to potential warm season grass markets in the region
for landowners to use for planning their agricultural operations.
3) Collecting environmental monitoring data that will examine how warm season grass plantings, and
management strategies used on them (e.g., poultry litter additions, adding legumes, or periodic burning),
impact nitrogen and phosphorous loads in waterways, soil carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat.
4) Providing outreach
farmers throughout the watershed on these practices.
Warm season grass field in Ohio.
Fred Circle, FDC Enterprises
The objective is to obtain information needed and share information regarding the use of warm season
grasses for adaptive management, farmer and industry support, and emerging economic opportunities such
as bioenergy, forage, carbon and nutrient trading, and poultry bedding.
We anticipate planting over 3000 acres and 25 miles of riparian buffers of warm season grasses in
the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Virginia from 2009-2012. Planting at these levels should reduce nitrogen
input to the Chesapeake Bay by more than 164,000 pounds/year and phosphorous by more than 13,195 pounds/