Recent Progress: No Change

Work is underway to develop a methodology and metrics for characterizing the rate of farmland, forest and wetland conversion; measuring the extent and rate of change in impervious surface coverage; and quantifying the potential impacts of land conversion on water quality, healthy watersheds and communities. This work will be based on changes to the landscape observed between 2005 and 2015. It will be updated every two to five years and serve as the source of information for a public awareness campaign.

Outlook: On Course

The Land Use Methods and Metrics Development Outcome is on course. The release of the Chesapeake Bay High-Resolution Land Use Project in 2016, the identification of hot spots of change using Landsat satellite data and the accurate, detection of land cover change from 2013 to 2017 have helped to improve the collective knowledge of land conversion and its associated impacts throughout the watershed. The Land Use Workgroup is currently drafting indicators of impervious cover per capita and the change in impervious cover per capita based on the Chesapeake Bay High-Resolution Land Use Project. Over the coming months, more indicators will be developed, including looking at development gain (impervious surfaces + turf + trees over turf), development gain per capita, forest clearing and regrowth, urban tree canopy gain (from new plantings) and loss, and agricultural gain and loss.

Learn About Factors Influencing Progress

Management Strategy

To achieve this outcome, Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to:

  • Monitoring the conversion of farmland, forests and wetlands every two to five years;
  • Assessing the rate of impervious surface change every two to five years; and
  • Quantifying the impacts of land conversion on water quality, healthy watersheds and communities.
  • Communicating results to the public, elected officials and Chesapeake Bay Program partners.

Assessing progress toward the outcome will occur quarterly. Once metrics and impact measures are approved, they will be reassessed with the receipt of updated land cover information every three to five years.

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome was reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in February of 2021.

Download Management Strategy (.pdf)

Logic & Action Plan

Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking a series of specific actions that will support the management approaches listed above.

Learn About Logic & Action Plan

Participating Partners

The Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Vital Habitats, Water Quality and Fostering Stewardship goal implementation teams, as well as the Local Government Advisory Committee.

Participating partners include:

  • Maryland Department of the Environment (State of Maryland)
  • Maryland Department of Planning (State of Maryland)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • The Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • Eastern Geographic Science Center and National Geospatial Program (U.S. Geological Survey)
  • The Chesapeake Conservancy