Lower Susquehanna Initiative

Through our Conewago Creek and Lower Susquehanna Initiatives, the AEC has established itself as a leader in building agriculture and conservation partnerships in Pennsylvania. Its high priority initiatives in the Commonwealth’s “nutrient hot spot” of the Lower Susquehanna continue to grow.

Who we are

The Lower Susquehanna Initiative is housed under Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center. This initiative is a growing project with the goal of reducing the pollution load going into the Susquehanna River by forming partnerships among municipalities, non-profits, and private companies to support best management practices being implemented in the Lower Susquehanna watershed. New partnerships are always forming, offering new opportunities. Currently the Lower Susquehanna Initiative is engaged in the Conewago Creek Initiative, Greening the Lower Susquehanna, the Little Conestoga Partnership, and is a partner of the Lancaster County Clean Water Consortium.

What we do

The Initiative encourages community members to adopt BMPs, or Best Management Practices, that can reduce the amount of nutrients and sediments reaching local streams.
Examples of agricultural BMPs include:

  • fencing livestock out of a stream
  • planting a riparian buffer
  • using cover crops
  • switching to no-till

Examples of stormwater BMPS include:

  • using a rain barrel
  • planting trees
  • putting in a rain garden
  • not fertilizing your lawn

Why our work is Important

The Lower Susquehanna region has been experiencing increased urban development and continued agricultural operations, making it a “hotspot” for water quality issues.  Nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment, from both urban and agricultural land use, are the biggest causes of stream impairment in the Lower Susquehanna watershed.  Over 40% of the streams in this region are impaired and contribute to Pennsylvania’s highest nutrient loadings to the Chesapeake Bay.

The main goal of the Conewago Creek Initiative is to work with local property owners to improve their land management practices.

This project is focusing on green infrastructure approaches to restoration and stormwater management in the Lower Susquehanna region.

This partnership is lead by the Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County, and is comprised of many partners, including Penn State.

The purpose of the Consortium is to offer support to municipalities, businesses, non-profits, and watershed alliances regarding the new pollution regulations.