Watershed-Wide Actions


  • Meeting with riparian forest buffer leaders throughout the watershed to develop a strategy to boost enrollment in riparian forest buffer programs.
  • Increasing the effectiveness of landowner education on riparian forest buffer establishment and maintenance.
  • Improving outreach related to riparian forest buffers.
  • Expand awareness of reduced mowing, riparian forest buffer and tree planting programs among non-agricultural landowners (e.g., federal or public land managers, schools, golf courses).
  • Improving tracking and reporting of riparian forest buffer implementation.

July – December 2016

  • Making the pre-establishment care of riparian forest buffers easier for landowners by finding additional funding for weed suppression.
  • Survey recent National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grantees to determine the extent of riparian forest buffer versus grassed buffer implementation.
  • Seeking riparian forest buffer liaisons within farming communities.
  • Examining the effectiveness of annual riparian forest buffer maintenance payments and determine if payment rate is appropriate.
  • Developing a model to determine the situational likelihood that landowners not re-enrolling in a riparian forest buffer program maintain their forest buffer.

January – June 2017

  • Inserting tips on riparian forest buffer maintenance into conservation plans, contracts and other information for landowners.

July – December 2017

  • In some states, using Farm Service Agency funds to augment the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for riparian forest buffers.
  • Using limited Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant funding for the establishment of riparian forest buffers on urban lands.
  • Accessing additional financial assistance and leveraging additional conservation programs and sources of funds for riparian forest buffer programs.
  • Seeking opportunities to fund local tree planting and forest conservation efforts.
  • Using the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program Comprehensive Watershed-Scale Restoration in Dairy and Livestock Landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay award to accelerate riparian forest buffer implementation.
  • In some states, increasing staffing levels to provide more technical assistance related to riparian forest buffers.
  • Improving the tracking and spending of technical assistance funds.
  • Seeking opportunities to engage landowners in riparian forest buffer planting, align riparian forest buffer programs with related work and funding sources, and plan for new riparian forest buffers.
  • Increasing connections of riparian forest buffers with the Agriculture Conservation Partnership Program.
  • Suggesting language standards for riparian forest buffer easements.
  • Targeting outreach to Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program participants during the last one to two years of their contracts.
  • Working with local groups to expand tree planting programs.
  • Contacting landowners with expiring contracts.
  • Sharing local success stories that demonstrate the role of riparian forest buffers in improving environmental health.
  • Supporting policies that advance riparian forest buffer programs.
  • Exploring policies that preserve riparian forest buffers to analyze their effectiveness and determine the need for enforcement.
  • Supporting state leads and other partners in the prioritization of funding for riparian forest buffers and the achievement of their riparian forest buffer goals.
  • Using Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program targeting tools as well as water quality, brook trout and demographic targeting tools to determine high-priority reforestation areas.
  • Strengthening inter-organizational operations for reporting and verifying riparian forest buffers as a best management practice.
  • Evaluating state protocol for verifying riparian forest buffers as a best management practice.
  • Working with federal, state and local program managers to integrate riparian forest buffer and urban tree canopy targets into the implementation of stormwater programs related to TMDL, WIP and MS4 regulations.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of riparian forest buffer plantings, determining tree planting mortality and securing additional planting stock to correct planting failures.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the riparian forest buffer establishment period and recommending needed changes.
  • Considering climate change in future actions to support riparian forest buffers.

Actions in Delaware

  • Working with decision-makers to secure state funding to process new contacts gained through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and address barriers to new enrollment in riparian forest buffer programs. (January 2016)

Actions in Maryland

  • Promoting riparian forest buffers through the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Healthy Streams Farm Stewardship Program. (December 2017)
  • Developing a nutrient incentive pilot program to encourage the use of riparian forest buffers and wetlands to reduce nutrient pollution. (December 2017)

Actions in New York

  • Developing a flexible forest buffer pilot program to fill niches not met by traditional riparian forest buffer programs.(July 2016)
  • Seeking opportunities to link riparian forest buffer planting with allied agricultural practices, especially streambank stabilization, streambank fencing and/or transitional woodland practice. (January 2017)
  • Increasing the support offered by the Department of Environmental Conservation to riparian forest buffer projects completed through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement and Environmental Quality Incentives programs. (December 2017)
  • Working with New York Trees for Tributaries program volunteers to replant streamsides. (December 2017)

Actions in Pennsylvania

  • Establishing a riparian forest buffer leadership team. (February 2016)
  • Hosting a statewide riparian forest buffer summit. (March 2016)
  • Piloting the voluntary purchase by businesses of nutrient credits to fund the installation of riparian forest buffers. (December 2017)
  • Pursuing a riparian forest buffer program that is state and privately-funded. (December 2017)
  • Seeking opportunities to incorporate riparian forest buffer planting into local planning efforts. (December 2017)
  • Enhancing collaboration among organizations to better understand farmers’ needs related to riparian forest buffers. (December 2017)
  • Exploring the creation of a riparian forest buffer easement program and, if established, incorporating riparian forest buffers into a broader forest conservation easement program. (December 2017)

Actions in Virginia

  • Using high-resolution land cover data to map riparian forest buffers in the James River watershed and training partners on using this data to prioritize their work. (December 2017)