On Thursday, June 19, federal, state and non-profit partners kicked off an initiative to accelerate the implementation of riparian forest buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Chesapeake Riparian Forest Buffer Leadership Summit included discussions on the unique value of riparian forests in water quality and stream health, the importance of forest buffer goals set by the states, recognized the elements of past success, and the opportunities for innovation and partnership in the future (presentations and some photos are available below).


Attendees agreed that it is an appropriate time to look back on lessons learned from nearly 20 years of effort and adjust programs and take on new initiatives to enhance and re-energize commitments to riparian restoration. USDA Undersecretaries Robert Bonnie and Michael Scuse, highlighted their strong commitment to the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort by announcing a new commitment of $5 million to enhance the delivery of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the Bay States.

In the coming months, USDA Leadership in the States will be gathering together with State and private partners to assess challenges and opportunities for riparian forest buffer establishment and make recommendations on enhancing and accelerating progress toward shared restoration goals. State recommendations will be finalized in Spring 2015.

Presentations were given by representatives from Stroud Water Research Center, US Environmental Protection Agency, VA Natural Resources for the Chesapeake Bay, US Forest Service, the Farm Service Agency, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.