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Chesapeake Forest Fund

The Chesapeake Forest Fund offers foundations, businesses, and agencies a straight-forward and transparent investment opportunity to improve clean air and water, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and other natural benefits and meet their environmental stewardship and sustainability goals through tree planting and forest management. The Alliance directs Fund contributions into forest restoration actions using rigorous methodologies that produce measurable outcomes: tons of carbon uptake; pounds of reduced nitrogen and phosphorus; and acres of improved habitat. These outcomes improve the overall health and economic well-being of local communities through the Chesapeake region.

Chesapeake Forest Fund

The Alliance uniquely delivers significant benefits for each dollar invested by using its experience to leverage a wide variety of conservation programs including environmental markets, state and federal best management practice cost-share programs, conservation easement programs, and grant programs. In addition to direct financial assistance for tree planting and forest management actions, we also use investments to test ecosystem market innovations. Currently we are leveraging contributions to test how impact investing may be used in ecosystem markets.

Our Approach

The Chesapeake Forest Fund focuses its forest restoration actions on two primary practices: tree plantings and forest management. We plant trees along streams, in our cities, and other places important for water quality, public health, and wildlife habitat. Forest management actions are focused on invasive species removal and other practices that keep forests healthy and providing benefits to the public.

All forest restoration actions are implemented using rigorous methodologies that produce measurable outcomes: tons of carbon uptake; pounds of reduced nitrogen and phosphorus; and acres of improved habitat. These outcomes improve the overall health and economic well-being of local communities through the Chesapeake region. Visit our Environmental Benefits Calculations page for details on our tools and methodologies.

And we don’t just plant trees and walk away. While planning tree plantings with landowners, we make sure to leverage a wide variety of conservation programs including environmental markets, state and federal best management practice cost-share programs, conservation easement programs, and grant programs. This support ensures that we get more conservation outcomes for the buck and helps landowners meet property-wide conservation goals.

What does the landowner receive?

Most of our forest restoration occurs on family-owned, private farms and forests. Private landowners own nearly 80% of forests in the Chesapeake watershed and, therefore, provide much of the clean air and water, wildlife habitat, jobs, and other benefits we depend on in the Chesapeake region. As goes the stewardship of private lands, so goes the Chesapeake Bay.

The landowner receives a paid-in-full, turn-key service for the tree planting or forest management project on their property. For tree plantings, the Alliance manages the site preparation, tree planting, and up to five years of maintenance on the planting for the landowner.

What does a landowner commit to?

All landowners must commit to at least a minimum fifteen year agreement to neither harvest nor broadcast fertilize their tree planting. The Alliance gives preference to landowners interested in planting on lands with a conservation easement. Additional preference is given to projects that offer high conservation value, including riparian forest buffers, increased forest connectivity, or in areas with high development pressures. The Alliance plants only native trees, with tree selection tailored to the environmental conditions of the project area. If a landowner intentionally removes or destroys seedlings within the contract period, they must refund 100% of costs to the Alliance. The Alliance will re-invest these funds into a new tree planting project.

Our Projects

The Chesapeake Forest Fund has helped numerous families and other private landowners meet their management goals while also restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

Tree Plantings

Leveraging initial investments and funding from private business, the Alliance will use the Chesapeake Forest Fund to plant over 71,860 trees across the watershed in 2015. These trees prevent over ten thousand pounds of nutrients from entering streams and remove over four thousand metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. This campaign is one of the most extensive privately-funded tree planting efforts by a non-profit in the Chesapeake region.

Recent Work

Forest Management

Keeping forests healthy, so they can help us is one of the key activities of the Chesapeake Forest Fund. The Alliance directs funding to control invasive species, restore forest road erosion problems in important brook trout watersheds, and to other practices that improve the health and productivity to the Chesapeake’s forests.

Recent Work

Environmental Markets

The Chesapeake Forest Fund has helped many landowners overcome financial and technical barriers to entering a growing number of environmental markets including Virginia’s Nutrient Trading Program and Maryland’s forest mitigation program. Work to date has resulted in the permanent protection of clean water and wildlife habitat from 255 acres of existing and new forest.

Recent Work

Our Partners

The Chesapeake Forest Fund cleans our air and water through the support of its partners. Select partners include:

altria

Thinking about how to reduce its environmental impact is another way to innovate and be more efficient. It’s important that our companies play an active role in protecting our natural resources and reducing our impact on the environment.

altria

Norfolk Southern works to achieve balance between business operations and the environment. A commitment to sustainability makes a positive difference in business today and will have a lasting impact on the environment for generations to come.

altria

As a company that uses resources and produces waste, Patagonia recognizes its impact on the environment and feels a responsibility to give back. It’s not charity or traditional philanthropy. It’s part of the cost of doing business.

Craig Highfield Director of Chesapeake Forests Program, Maryland & DC Office

Craig is the Director of our Chesapeake Forests Program, where he manages a variety of projects that improve existing forests, create new ones, and educate residents and decision-makers about the benefits of forests in the Chesapeake watershed.

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Jenny McGarvey Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Virginia Office

Jenny is the Chesapeake Forest Program Manager at the Alliance’s Virginia office, where she collaborates with the forests team on a variety of projects to advocate for the benefits of forests.

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