Chesapeake Forest Fund

The Chesapeake Forest Fund offers foundations, businesses, and agencies an opportunity to meet their stewardship and sustainability goals and to advance abundant natural resources such as clean air and water, carbon storage, and wildlife habitats, while also supporting jobs, and commercial and recreational activities in the Chesapeake region. The Fund is a straight-forward and transparent investment opportunity that supports the Alliance’s forest restoration programs, including tree plantings and forest management across the six state Chesapeake Bay region.

Chesapeake Forest Fund

Our Approach

The Alliance directs Chesapeake Forest Fund contributions into forest restoration actions using rigorous methodologies that produce successful and measurable outcomes and improve the overall health and economic wellbeing of local communities throughout the Chesapeake region.

The Alliance uniquely delivers significant benefits for each dollar invested in the Chesapeake Forest Fund by using the Alliance’s experience, capabilities, and strong partnerships 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 ecosystems market innovations.

Family forest and private landowners own nearly 80% of forests in the Chesapeake watershed. Therefore, much of the Chesapeake region’s clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and jobs are provided by private forests. The Fund prioritizes these private landowners and supports forest restoration and management efforts that help these private landowners retain, restore, conserve and sustainably manage for year to come the forests that keep the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed rivers and streams clean and healthy. Our streamlined and leveraged approach works well in particular for the small woodland properties owners that are typically overlooked by traditional conservation programs.

In Maryland and Virginia, the Chesapeake Forest Fund finances low interest loans for private landowners to empower them to plant trees and conserve and protect their forests with the potential to generate and sell credits for the Virginia Non-Point Source Nutrient Trading Program, Maryland Forest Conservation Program, and Maryland Critical Areas Program.

By the Numbers


Trees Planted


Currently Invested

$2 Million

Fund Goal

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 Planting



Leveraging initial investments and funding from private business, the Alliance used 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.

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.

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.

Our Partners

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


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.


The Maryland Forestry Foundation seeks to achieve nutrient and sediment benefits through forest management. Quantifiable nutrient and sediment reductions on private lands are delivered through forestry best management practices.


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.


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.

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Craig Highfield Director of Chesapeake Forests Program, Maryland 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 Senior Program Manager, Virginia Office

Jenny is a senior program manager based in the Alliance’s Virginia office. She serves a dual managerial role over the Chesapeake Watershed Forum, ForumPlus, and Chesapeake Network, and aspects of our Chesapeake Forest program.

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Ryan Davis Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Pennsylvania Office

Ryan is the Alliance's Program Manager for our Chesapeake Forests program. He focuses on forest conservation and restoration within the watershed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York.

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