Pa. Ag Secretary Meets With Scientists and Farmer About New Research Funding 

800 450 Stroud Water Research Center

Stroud Water Research Center Highlights Research Supporting the Future of Farming and Clean Water in Pennsylvania at Department of Ag Press Conference 

Avondale, PA – Today, Stroud Water Research Center Executive Director Dave Arscott, Ph.D., and Director of Watershed Restoration Matthew Ehrhart met with Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and local farmer Jamie Hicks to discuss how scientific research can support both farming and healthy streams. 

The meeting occurred as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s announcement of $1.5 million in new grant funding for conservation research. The approved funding follows Governor Shapiro’s proposed $10 million Agriculture Innovation and Conservation Fund that was announced in February.

The group met on a Chester County farm planted by Hicks, one of dozens of farms where the Stroud Center is studying how multiple conservation practices might reduce the loss of valuable soil and nutrients from farmland, increase farm resilience to climate extremes, enhance the health of local streams, reduce flooding and erosion, and support wildlife and clean water. The Stroud Center’s research on the farm received earlier funding from the department through a Conservation Innovation Grant.

The Stroud Center, long known for its rigorous freshwater science, began a watershed restoration program in 2013 so that scientists could both inform and learn from activities meant to protect and restore streams and rivers. That has led to long-term partnerships with farmers like Hicks who receive guidance and funding to implement stream–friendly practices; in exchange, they allow Stroud Center scientists to study how well the practices are working.

“Pennsylvania farmers are so fortunate to have Stroud Water Research Center in the commonwealth, leading advancements in innovation and stewardship,” said Secretary Redding. “Stroud’s research empowers farmers with the knowledge and tools to harness the latest science and information to make informed decisions that benefit the environment and economic vitality of our agriculture industry.”

After more than 50 years of the Clean Water Act and 86 years of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, more than 28,000 miles of Pennsylvania streams are categorized as impaired — meaning they aren’t fishable, swimmable, or drinkable. About 8,000 of them are impaired due to agriculture. Meanwhile, agriculture plays a critical role in a healthy food supply. Finding ways to support both clean streams and agriculture is vital.

The Stroud Center has found success by following the science. Stroud Center Executive Director, President, and Research Scientist Dave Arscott, Ph.D., said, “We have seen real, data-backed improvements in streams where we follow the latest science. As we continue our research, we find new, better, or sometimes old and forgotten ways of helping people care for their land and water.”

In 2022, the department funded a research project in which the Stroud Center is studying how aggregated conservation practices on Lancaster County farms impact a subwatershed of Pequea Creek. The Stroud Center collected data before and after restoration activities that address major water quality issues from the dairy operations. Early data show that water quality is improving. The restoration project won a places2040 Planning Leadership Award from Lancaster County Planning. 

Diane Huskinson, Associate Director of Communications


About Stroud Water Research Center For more than half a century, Stroud Water Research Center has focused on the science of rivers and streams. In its mission to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration, the Stroud Center produces the trusted science needed for successful stream and river conservation while fostering people’s passion for the water in their lives. The Stroud Center is an independent, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.