The Problem Habitat Improvement

The Chesapeake Bay water quality has degraded to a poor condition and, despite extensive restoration efforts, the poor water quality has continued. This necessitated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to establish a “pollution diet” for the Bay, called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The pollution diet, or TMDL, identifies pollutant reductions from major sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that are needed to restore the Bay and sets pollution limits to meet water quality standards established for the Bay and its tidal rivers.

The Solution

The District is encouraging landowners to implement priority Habitat Improvement Projects listed below. Priority funding will be given to projects that include forested stream buffers of at least 50 feet in width and wetlands creation projects. In addition, projects that provides long term protection and/or maintenance (through deed restrictions, conservation easement or other maintenance protection) are preferred. The District will seek to leverage the Exelon HIP Funds with other funding sources and will work with government and non-government organization to implement habitat improvement projects.

Priority Ag BMPs:

  • Forested stream buffers (Priority)
  • Wetlands creation (Priority)
  • Barnyard BMPs
  • Pasture BMPs
  • Field BMPs
  • Stream restoration
Other priority BMPs:

  • Forested stream buffers (Priority)
  • Wetlands creation (Priority)
  • Riparian buffer maintenance
  • Stream restoration and maintenance
  • In-stream habitat improvement and maintenance

How the HIP Program Works

  • Exelon HIP Funds shall be used for the implementation of agricultural pasture and barnyard best management practices and other habitat improvement projects to address sediment and nutrient problems;
  • PADEP-SCRO approves all projects prior to contract signing, including budget;
  • All size farms are eligible;  as are non-farm properties;
  • Multiple projects on a property OK;
  • Maintenance of BMP’s is an eligible practice  (connection to water);
  • Project involving monitoring and audit, eligible administrative expense;
  • Phased projects OK, but $75,000 maximum per project;
  • Administrative funding, including engineering support, may not exceed 5% of a project grant;
  • Exelon would pay for signage where appropriate and landowner approves;

If you are interested in learning more about the program click on the guidelines below or contact the District staff listed.


For more information about ag-related BMPs, contact Mark Flaharty, Ag Resource Conservationist at 717-755-2966 ext. 106 or e-mail

For more information about other habitat improvement BMPs, contact Gary R. Peacock, Watershed Specialist, at 717-840-7687 or e-mail

Mail Applications to:

York County Conservation District, 118 Pleasant Acres Rd., York, PA 17402