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|Graduate Degree: MIT, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts - Boston
Area of interest: Smart growth initiatives, environmental justice, land use, transit-oriented development
Mentor: Vivien Li, Executive Director of the Boston Harbor Association
Agency: Department of Agricultural Resources
Supervisor: Susan Phinney, Department of Agricultural Resources
Project Description: As a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Anne Herbst’s work focused on farm impacts on water quality. Farm runoff can be a source of pollution of surface and groundwater resources. Farms have thus been subject to an increasing number of federal and state regulatory initiatives designed to protect water quality. Her work responded to the growing need for education, technical assistance, and financial support for farms to improve their environmental practices. She evaluated the current environmental programming of the Department of Agricultural Resources and proposed the launch of a systematic effort to: (1) Identify farms that may impact sensitive water resources, and (2) Provide education about best management practices, and compliance assistance to farmers. The proposed "Environmental Policy and Compliance Assistance Program" would utilize the expertise of the many DAR staff that visit Massachusetts farms on a regular basis. It offers a comprehensive and cost-effective approach to assessing and addressing farm impacts on water resources. With fully ten percent of Massachusetts land engaged in agricultural pursuits, such a program has the potential to deliver significant dividends in water-resource protection and improved environmental stewardship.