Samuel Owings’ farm outside Chestertown, Maryland is over a dozen miles from the Chesapeake Bay, but there’s a direct link between his land and the waterway that supports more than 3,600 animal and plant species, along with the livelihoods of many Marylanders.
Agricultural runoff in the form of millions of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus is major culprit behind huge algal blooms that lead to areas of low oxygen in the bay known as "dead zones."
Aware of his role in a chain of events that threaten the health of the bay and communities that rely on it, Owings designed and installed a series of cascading pools that trap stormwater—and the nutrients it carries—on his land.  Researchers from the A. James Clark School of Engineering have assessed his system and discovered it could be an important strategy to promote a healthy bay alongside successful farms.