Polluted Runoff from Agricultural Lands

Our Waterkeepers are working to reduce agricultural pollution in the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal watersheds. As the largest source of pollution, reducing agricultural pollution is essential to meeting the pollution reduction goals of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan (TMDL).

Our priorities are:

Pushing for greater transparency and accountability for the agricultural industry.

Insisting that states improve regulation of industrial factory farms known as CAFOs.

Keeping excess poultry manure from polluting our waterways.

Building a fair and just food system through our Fair Farms campaign, a movement of Marylanders of all stripes, working together for a new food system — one that’s fair to farmers, invests in homegrown, healthy food, and restores our waterways instead of polluting them.


Latest Posts

Take Action: Urge Pennsylvania’s RGGI to Include Ag Practices that Reduce CO2 Emissions and Sequester Carbon

Pennsylvania is set to take part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce climate change pollution from electric power plants. Pennsylvania’s power sector, currently the fifth dirtiest in the nation, could achieve significant emission reductions through RGGI while creating value in myriad ways by driving investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate … Read more

Rebuilding Equity into our Local Food System

Join the Fair Farms campaign online for Rebuilding Equity into our Local Food System on Thursday, November 19, 5:00 – 6:30pm for a discussion on how the global COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the existing inequities in our local food systems. Along with challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to acknowledge the movement against … Read more


Lawsuit Challenges New NEPA Regulations that Shield CAFOs from Environmental Review

Extreme changes to the regulations have widespread consequences for animals, surrounding communities, and the environment. Contact: Mike Andrade-Heymsfield, media@aldf.org, 707-364-8387 Betsy Nicholas, betsy@waterkeeperschespeake.org, 202-423-0504 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today a coalition of rural advocacy, environmental, and animal protection organizations, led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit against the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) … Read more

Opening Briefs Filed in EPA Lawsuit on Slaughterhouse Regulations

Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice on August 3 filed the opening brief in our challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s final agency decision not to revise the effluent limitation guidelines for slaughterhouses and associated effluent limitations and not to publish pretreatment standards to control pollution discharges into the nation’s waters under the … Read more

Pipeline Development on Maryland’s Eastern Shore Could Lead to Expansion of Industrial Poultry Facilities

Communities fighting against pipelines want sustainable agriculture and clean energy (Berlin, MD) Chesapeake Utilities is proposing to bring fracked gas from Delaware across the Eastern Shore of Maryland to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) in Somerset County. The Del-Mar Pipeline would supply industrial poultry facilities, businesses, and residential … Read more

Take the Pledge for Healthy Soil!

Fair Farms Blog Waterkeepers Chesapeake’s Clear Choices Clean Water campaign added a new pledge on healthy soils to emphasize the importance of soil health and how integral soil is to food production, water sources, and the climate and environment in general. Here at Fair Farms, we’re excited about this new pledge that encourages residents living … Read more

Webinar: Supporting Sustainable Farmers During a Pandemic & Beyond

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the precarious nature of industrial agriculture and how the few companies dominating this sector often leave out contract farmers and essential workers at all levels of the supply chain. A resilient, equitable local and regional food system is more important than ever. This crisis offers us an … Read more

Court Allows Slaughterhouse Pollution Lawsuit to Move Forward

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled on Wednesday that a lawsuit can proceed challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to update national standards to control water pollution from slaughterhouses. Wednesday’s decision, in a lawsuit filed by community and conservation groups late last year, deferred for later consideration an argument by the … Read more

Poultry Industry Ammonia Air Pollution Adds More Nitrogen to Chesapeake Bay than all MD or PA Sewage Plants

Fatter Birds and Lack of Emissions Controls Contribute 12 Million Pounds of Nitrogen to Bay Annually FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 (Earth Day) Press contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (443) 510-2574 or tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org Washington, D.C. — A new study concludes that ammonia air pollution from the Chesapeake region poultry industry contributes about … Read more

Fair Farms Campaign 2020 Legislative Wins!

Fair Farms blog. In order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Maryland General Assembly decided to adjourn a few weeks early, on March 18th. We’re thankful that our elected officials acted quickly to protect public health, while also accomplishing a tremendous amount in a short period of time. Thanks to their steadfastness, and … Read more