The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay teamed up with partners from across the Watershed to plant over 69,500 trees in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia this spring 2019! Our innovative forest programs improve the health of existing trees and forests, create new forests in places important to water quality and to watershed residents, and promote the benefits of forests to the public and decision-makers  – we “help forests help us.”

Below are some of the creative partnerships and approaches we took to put trees in the ground this season.The Healthy Forests Healthy Waters program is a collaborative tree planting initiative between the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Forest Service, the Maryland Forestry Foundation, and private landowners throughout the Maryland. The program provides participating landowners with a free, turnkey tree planting project of an acre or more on open land that they want to convert into a forest. Landowners agree to maintain this new forest for at least ten years. The program is supported by a grant through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund as an innovative approach to reduce the amounts of nutrients and sediments entering our waterways.

By-the-Numbers: 54,120 trees planted.

The Sustainable Conservation Fund is a pilot program in Maryland and Virginia that provides landowners with the seed funding needed to establish afforestation projects in order to generate ecosystem credits in existing conservation markets in each state. A portion of returns from credit sales are reinvested in the Sustainable Conservation Fund to be available for future restoration projects. This spring, we saw our first project planted through the Fund in Maryland. 

By-the-Numbers: 4,242 trees planted.

A landscape photo of rows of trees tubed and staked in a field in Prince George's County. Family-sized homes are in the background.

Photo courtesy Craig Highfield.

The Prince George’s County Stormwater Project is a tree planting funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program. This tree planting, as well as many other projects funded by the Program, aid the County in treating and controlling stormwater. 

By-the-Numbers: 250 trees planted.

A landscape photo, taken in the middle of a creek facing upstream, with rows of tree tubes on each side of the stream protecting newly planted trees in the surrounding fields.

A freshly planted forest buffer as part of the Streamside Forest Buffer Program. Photo courtesy Ryan Davis.

The Streamside Forest Buffer Program in Pennsylvania gives landowners the opportunity to establish a riparian forest buffer with more support and flexibility than many traditional funding sources. Many landowners intend to sell products grown in their new buffers, from floral cuttings to maple syrup, and others simply wanted to improve their streams and local wildlife populations. Thanks to several grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alliance planted 20 sites this spring on farms, municipal parks, and residential properties.

By-the-Numbers: 6,000 trees or 33 new acres of forest planted.

The Chesapeake Forest Fund offers foundations, businesses, and agencies an opportunity to meet their stewardship and sustainability goals to advance abundant natural resources. The Alliance directs Fund contributions into forest restoration actions. In Pennsylvania, we have worked with forest landowners since 2015 to afforest open lands as a way to sequester carbon.

By-the-Numbers: 350 trees planted.

Foreground man smiling holding a bucket in a park. In the background, volunteers are spreading mulch around saplings.

Volunteers mulch around newly planted trees at the Covington Road tree planting on February 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of Reedy Creek Coalition.

The Covington Road tree planting is a continued partnership project with the Reedy Creek Coalition to restore land in the Reedy Creek Watershed in the City of Richmond, VA. The area being restored is the city Parks Department-owned property along the concrete channel of Reedy Creek. The project was supported by Altria, and is done in partnership with Reedy Creek Coalition, City of Richmond Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities, and Richmond Tree Stewards.

By-the-Numbers: 350 trees planted.

Two women in conversation standing in a field of wildflowers and tree tubes.

Landowner Marli Hickin (Left) and Jenny McGarvey (Alliance; Right) discuss management of her riparian buffer.

The Healthy Streams Farm Stewardship program is about accelerating the establishment of riparian forest buffers on private agricultural lands by leveraging private foundation investment in whole farm conservation with public natural resources conservation funding. We offer this program in Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and in central Maryland. Our Virginia program is supported by a grant from the DuPont NRDAR restoration project and is done in partnership with the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Virginia Department of Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation Service,  and the Farm Service Agency. Our Maryland program is supported by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and is done in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maryland Forest Service, and Maryland’s Soil Conservation Districts.

By-the-Numbers: 4,046 trees planted.

Our West Virginia Watershed Forester, Holly May, supports our local partners in the CREP Riparian Forest Buffer initiative based in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. Holly works to plant and promote trees, and increase the number of trees on the landscape, especially riparian forests and acres of riparian forest buffers. This spring she worked with a variety of partners from National Resources Conservation Service,Farm Services Agency, West Virginia Division of Forestry, the Cacapon Institute, and the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust to plant trees across four counties – Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, and Hardy.

By-the-Numbers: 366 trees planted.

The Alliance thanks our many partners for their support and collaboration. Without you we could not have accomplished this huge success!

To learn more about our efforts around Chesapeake forests, visit our program page or subscribe to our Forests for the Bay newsletter.