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Educating Chesapeake Bay Stakeholders in the Use of Performance-Based Incentives for Agricultural Pollution Control: Demonstration in the Choptank River Watershed

Winsten, John
University of Vermont
Start date
End date
Primary Project Goal: To provide extension and education programs that can facilitate the adoption of performance-based incentives for improving the technical and cost-effectiveness of agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) programs.

Project Objectives:

  1. Strengthen extension and education programs for the adoption of performance-based incentives
  2. Facilitate adoption of performance-based incentives in the Choptank River Watershed
  3. Conduct Education and Outreach throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Expected Outputs:
  1. An assessment of stakeholder views of barriers to the adoption of performance-based incentives and a region-wide education program (2/2009)
  2. Development and implementation of extension and education activities for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (9/2009)
  3. Established demonstration site for education and outreach activities (9/2009)
  4. An assessment of baseline farm-level performance for participating producers (1/2010)
  5. Performance-based incentive payments to selected producers (11/2009 and 11/2010)
  6. Assistance to producers in selecting good business decisions for pollution control (3/2010 and 3/2011)
  7. An assessment of changes in farm-level performance (10/2010 and 9/2011)
  8. Field days in the demonstration watershed to educate stakeholders from around the region (9/2009, 9/2010, 9/2011)
  9. An assessment of project impacts through on-going internal evaluation (9/2011)
More information
Non-Technical Summary: Performance-based incentives reward farmers for achieving specified environmental outcomes, often measured at the farm-level (e.g. estimated annual P or N loss from the farm) and provide the flexibility and incentive to achieve outcomes in the least costly manner. As such, performance-based incentives are a strategy to (1) to create stronger linkages between farmer actions and field-specific pollution reductions, (2) increase the cost-effectiveness of current nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control programs, (3) increase farm viability by using the profit-motive to induce farmers to find cost-effective solutions for their working lands. This project will develop and pilot-test farm-level performance-based incentives for agricultural pollution controlin the Choptank River watershed of Maryland?s Eastern Shore and will conduct education and outreach throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Approach: This project will use a previously developed participatory method for developing a specific approach for the use of performance-based incentives in the Choptank River watershed. This process is likely to affect changes in knowledge and understanding among stakeholders related to agricultural pollution control. The approach will be pilot-tested on a limited scale with selected producers in the watershed. The pilot-testing site (a sub-basin of the Choptank River watershed) will then become a demonstration site for education and outreach throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Education and Training
Chemical Contaminants
Sanitation and Quality Standards