Nitrogen and phosphorus arrive in Chesapeake Bay from the 64,000 square mile watershed.

The activities of more than 13.6 million people in the watershed have overwhelmed the Bay with nutrients from sewage treatment plants, industry, agricultural fields, lawns and the atmosphere. Farm fertilizers and animal manure come in by rainwater runoff.

Four experts will look at the water quality data and political drivers that shape the future of agricultural nutrient management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed during a free webcast Friday, Feb. 18. The water quality in the Bay has improved, but there are shortfalls in goals and areas targeted for improvement.

Policies are changing for agricultural and non-agricultural sources of nutrients and sediment in the watershed. The speakers will give an update on the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) policy and how the six states in the watershed are helping to meet water quality targets. The webcast speakers will begin with watershed-wide issues and end with how policies may impact producers on smaller sub-watersheds.

The webcast begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time (1:30 p.m. Central, 12:30 p.m. Mountain, 11:30 a.m. Pacific). The 75-minute webcast is free and part of eXtension’s Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center monthly webcast series.

Participant list

Robb Meinen is a senior Extension associate in dairy and animal science at Penn State University. He coordinates education for the PA Act 49 Commercial Manure Hauler and Broker Certification Program as well as education in nutrient and odor management and service to the swine industry. 

Matt Ehrhart is executive director for the Pennsylvania office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He works on water quality, watershed restoration, agricultural conservation and preservation, and the associated policy and implementation issues. His responsibilities include establishing legal and policy positions on environmental issues. 

Marel Raub is the Chesapeake Bay Commission’s Pennsylvania director. Her responsibilities include policy development, legislative drafting, and communications support. Her focus areas include the federal farm bill, the emerging regional biofuels industry, and implementation of the Commonwealth’s Chesapeake Bay tributary strategy and Total Maximum Daily Load under the federal Clean Water Act. 

Kelly Shenk is the agricultural policy coordinator at EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program office. Shenk has worked on urban and agricultural phosphorus pollution issues in the Lake Champlain basin and the Lake Geneva watershed in France.

Before or after the webcast, ask questions, post comments, upload photos or share your experiences at Click on “discussion” to start. More information about eXtension’s Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center, its webcasts and how to participate is available on the eXtension site.

Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay topic at

During the March 25 webcast: “How Nature, the Supreme Farmer, Manages Manure” Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, will talk about the science of soil. Learn how manure is an indispensable part of the ecology behind healthy and productive soils and see real world case studies and comparisons of good and bad examples.

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