UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Growing the right crop in the right place within an impaired watershed can achieve significant water quality improvements, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a novel study in the drainage of a Susquehanna River tributary in an agricultural area in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The research may reveal a potential path for restoring the troubled Chesapeake Bay, said Patrick Drohan, associate professor of pedology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and one of the study’s authors. The bay — which long has been impaired in large part by nutrients and sediment washing off crop fields and getting into surface waters that feed it — needs bold solutions, such as changing cropping systems, he suggested.

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