The Basics of Agricultural Erosion and Sedimentation Requirements
In 2011, additions and changes to long-standing PA Chapter 102 regulations addressing Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Control and Stormwater Management took effect. All farms that plow and till soil, including no-till practices, must develop and implement a written Agricultural and Erosion Sedimentation Control Plan to reduce erosion. Bare areas created by animals, such as exercise lots, must also be addressed in this plan regardless of the number of animals.
The written plan must address Animal Heavy Use Areas (AHAU). AHUAs are defined as “Barnyard, feedlot, loafing areas, exercise lot or other similar areas on agricultural operations where due to the concentration of animals it is not possible to establish and maintain vegetative cover of a density capable of minimizing accelerated erosion and sedimentation by usual planting methods.”
Ag E&S Plan should include…
- Farm Owner(s)/Operator(s)
- Identify Farm and Tracts. Represent all farms and applicable lands operated with agricultural plowing and/ or tilling activities and Animal Heavy Use Areas disturbing more than 5,000 sq. ft.
- BMPs on cropland, hayland and/or pastures to limit soil loss to, at a minimum, the soil loss tolerance (T) rate over the planned crop rotation.
- Additional BMPs to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation for fields with less than 25% plant cover or crop residue cover and within 100 feet of a river, or perennial or intermittent stream.
- BMPs to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation from animal heavy use areas such as Heavy Use Area Protection, Critical Area Planting, Fencing, Wastewater Treatment Strip, Constructed Wetland, Use Exclusion, Animal Trails and Walkways, Diversions and Roof Runoff Structure and/or others.
- Description of BMPs, including animal heavy use area practices and procedures, tillage systems, schedules and crop rotations.
- Maps that show the location of features including:
- surface waters and drainage patterns (topographic map)
- field and property boundaries
- buildings and farm structures
- animal heavy use areas
- roads and crossroads
- existing and planned BMPs
- soils map
- An implementation schedule describing when the planned BMPs will be implemented, installed, and operational.
- Operation and maintenance criteria describing how BMPs will be operated and maintained consistent with the current conditions and activities.
A Conservation Plan or an Ag E&S Plan used to meet Ch. 102 requirements must be kept on the farm and made available on request to DEP or local county conservation district.
Earth disturbances that do not involve AHUAs or tilling, such as construction of a new barn, still require E&S BMPs and those activities over 5000 square feet require an E&S Plan. Earth disturbances over one square acre will need an NPDES permit. E&S Plans and Permits should be developed and obtained before any earth disturbance begins. Contact the Armstrong Conservation District for any questions involving E&S plans or NPDES permits.