New Year, New Chesapeake Forests Projects!
The start of a new year is perfect timing to highlight the new and exciting projects that the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s forest team will be rolling out in 2018. This work will serve landowners and local communities in their efforts to restore woodlands and manage for healthier forests and wildlife habitat throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Attention Maryland landowners: Tree planting opportunity available
The trees on your land provide you a myriad of benefits from improving air quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, providing privacy and reducing the time and energy you would exert keeping the land open. Increasing tree coverage on your land only increases these benefits. For the past couple of years the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has teamed up with Maryland Forest Service and the Maryland Forestry Foundation to help landowners implement tree planting projects. With funding secured from the Maryland Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, we have been able to provide turnkey tree planting projects at no cost to the landowner and without a restrictive easement on their land. Maryland Forest Service staff works with participating landowners to develop the plan and oversee the projects that are all planted by experienced natural resources contractors and maintained for the first growing season.
We have received funding to plant 140 acres of new woodlands on 30 properties during this spring 2018. Due to some adjustments in the proposed planting areas, we now have 18 additional acres available to fully fund. Ideal projects for this grant are at least 1 acre (or more) and must be within the Trust Fund’s High or Medium priority areas. To determine if you are in their priority area, type your address into their mapping tool. If you are interested in this opportunity or would like more information, please contact us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forest Stewardship Connectivity Program
The Forest Stewardship Connectivity Program aims to improve forest management in central Pennsylvania by creating networks of neighboring forest landowners, where all properties have a forest management plan and actively manage for diverse stand ages. Connecting forest properties will make management more efficient and more likely, and creating multiple proximate habitat patches will improve the landscape for populations of species of concern, including Golden-winged Warblers, American Woodcock, Cerulean Warblers, and others. The grant, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program, will provide Forest Management Plans and management vouchers for participating landowners. The vouchers will be redeemable for management activities prescribed in the Forest Management Plan, and will be based on the amount of land that each individual contributes to the network and on the total acreage within the network. This will incentivize landowners to participate and also to reach out to their neighbors to join; the larger the network, the bigger the voucher. The Alliance will lead this project in partnership with: the Pennsylvania USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Penn State Center for Private Forests, and Pheasants Forever.
Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship Program
In December, the Alliance was awarded $250,000 in funds through the DuPont-Waynesboro Settlement grants program to pilot the Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship program in Virginia. The Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship program offers a small, but significant financial incentive to get agricultural producers disinterested in traditional cost-share programs to plant riparian forest buffers and fence cattle out of streams. For each acre of riparian forest buffer planted through a state or federal cost-share program, the Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship Program participant will receive an additional $3,000 to go towards any approved best management practice on the farm. Program participants will also receive additional financial support to maintain their riparian forest buffers. This project will build on the success of the program in Maryland, where the Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship program has led to over 140 acres of newly planted riparian forest buffers. The program will target producers in the South River, Christians Creek, and Middle River watersheds of Augusta County. Augusta County has the second highest number of agricultural producers in the state of Virginia. Project partners include the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Friends of the Middle River.
Technical Assistance to Local Governments on Financing an Urban Forestry Program
Among best management practices for reducing stormwater flow and nutrient loads to local streams, urban tree canopy (UTC) is the only practice that appreciates in value, returning an estimated two dollars per dollar invested. UTC also improves air quality, sequesters greenhouse gases, creates critical habitat for birds and other wildlife, and mitigates the “heat island” effect within cities.
For many localities, it is a challenge to identify funding and financing mechanisms to maintain this valuable resource and to plant new trees. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in partnership with the University of Maryland Environmental Financing Center and the Metro Washington Council of Governments will develop a resource for local governments of examples and opportunities of funding local UTC implementation, working with specific communities within the Metro Washington region with the greatest need for technical support to financially maintain their urban forestry program. This project is funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.