• Progress

    Between 2014 and 2015, about 64 miles of forest buffers were planted along the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s rivers and streams. While this marks progress toward the outcome, it is 836 miles below the 900-mile-per-year goal and the lowest restoration total of the last 16 years.

    Of the riparian forest buffers planted last year, 28.7 miles were planted in New York, 15.4 miles were planted in Maryland, 9.1 miles were planted in Virginia, 6.4 miles were planted in Pennsylvania and 4.6 miles were planted in West Virginia.

    An estimated 55 percent of the watershed’s 288,000 miles of stream banks and shorelines currently have forest buffers in place. A high-resolution aerial forest buffer assessment is expected to help experts determine the mileage that would be needed to ensure 70 percent of riparian areas in the watershed are forested.

    Forest buffers are critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay: they stabilize stream banks, prevent pollution from entering waterways, provide food and habitat to wildlife, and keep streams cool during hot weather. Because of these benefits, forest buffers are considered one of the most cost-effective best management practices.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the forest buffers outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Facilitating connections between federal, state and local leaders and the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
    • Aligning forest buffer programs with related projects and funding sources (e.g., land conservation, stream restoration and stormwater programs and funding);
    • Improving existing forest buffer programs (e.g., amending state Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program agreements, increasing and improving technical assistance, and conducting outreach and education) to make them more appealing to landowners; and
    • Using science and technology (e.g., high-resolution satellite imagery and geographic prioritization tools) to improve the forest buffer practice.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the brook trout, healthy watersheds, protected lands, tree canopy, water quality standards attainment and monitoring, and wetlands outcomes.

    Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through data related to the miles of forest buffers planted each year, as collected through annual progress reports. High-resolution satellite imagery will confirm these buffers are there and represent a net gain for that part of the watershed.

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome will be reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in May of 2017.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.
  • Participating Partners

    The Forestry Workgroup, which is part of the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team, leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Vital Habitats and Healthy Watersheds goal implementation teams.

    Participating partners include:

    • State of Delaware
    • State of Maryland
    • State of New York
    • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Commonwealth of Virginia
    • State of West Virginia
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • Farm Service Agency (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
    • National Park Service
    • Natural Resources Conservation Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Department of Defense
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • U.S. Geological Survey
    • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
    • Baltimore Greenspace
    • Cacapon Institute
    • Casey Trees
    • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    • Delaware Center for Horticulture
    • Ducks Unlimited
    • Maryland Farm Bureau Federation
    • The Nature Conservancy
    • Parks and People Foundation
    • Pennsylvania Conservation Districts
    • Pheasants Forever
    • Potomac Conservancy
    • Smithsonian Institution
    • Stroud Water Research Center
    • TreeBaltimore
    • Trout Unlimited
    • Virginia Agribusiness Council
    • Virginia Cattlemen’s Association
    • Virginia Dairymen’s Association
    • Virginia Farm Bureau
    • Virginia Grain Producers