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Nutrient Management Program

Pennsylvania's first Nutrient Management Law, Act 6 of 1993, was among the first in the nation to establish specific nutrient management planning requirements through law and regulation. Authority for implementing the new law was given to the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission, or SCC. The law also created the Nutrient Management Advisory Board, or NMAB, a committee with wide-ranging membership, to include: the environmental community, local governments, feed industry and representatives from the major livestock and poultry industries. The NMAB serves the SCC in an advisory capacity, providing recommendations and comments with regard to nutrient management regulations developed by the SCC.

In 2005, based largely upon research and community concerns with regard to manure odors and manure application setbacks from bodies of water, the legislature amended the original nutrient management law by enacting Act 38 of 2005. The regulations developed to implement the amended law placed a greater emphasis on phosphorus management in addition to the existing nitrogen management practices outlined in the nutrient management plans. USDA-ARS and Penn State University researchers developed the Pennsylvania Phosphorus Index, which is a tool that evaluates specific fields under specific management and requires actions to address fields with a higher risk of phosphorus loss to water bodies. The Act 38 nutrient management regulation also establishes year-round setbacks for manure applications with respect to certain bodies of water; specifically, perennial and intermittent streams, lakes, ponds and existing open sinkholes for regulated entities.

The SCC employs a Nutrient and Odor Management Program Director with oversight over all Act 38 related activities. An additional staff of 6 people (5 nutrient management and 1 odor management) works in conjunction with staff from 57 delegated county conservation districts, to implement and enforce the provisions of the Act 38 nutrient management regulations.

For additional information, see the Penn State University Nutrient Management Program website that is hosted by Penn State University.