Forest Restoration

The Alliance is working with the Bay states, federal agencies, and local governments to demonstrate the water quality benefits of trees and forests through on-the-ground projects and communications.

Streamside Forests

One of the best practices any person or group within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed can do to help restore the Bay is to plant trees. The Alliance targets its tree planting programs to those areas where they do the most good for water quality in the watershed; riparian stream corridors and urban centers.

tree planting along bufferThe Alliance developed the Healthy Streams Farm Stewardship Program (HSFSP) in order to accelerate the establishment of riparian forest buffers on agricultural lands HSFSP offers farmers the opportunity to earn funds to help pay for needed conservation work on the farm. For each acre of stream buffer planted through the USDA-FSA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) or planted to the standards of CREP, the HSFSP provides a participating farmer with a “Best Management Practice Voucher”.  The farmer may use these vouchers, which have been valued between $3000 and $4000, to help plan and install conservation work needed on the farm. Vouchers support practice design, conservation planning, construction management and costs, equipment, stream buffer maintenance practices, and conservation easement transaction costs. The farmer may also use vouchers to cover their private costs associated with their CREP buffer.
Protecting and planting trees along our streams and rivers is one of the most cost effective and best ways to reduce pollution getting into the Bay. The Alliance has partnered with a variety of state and federal agencies and private organizations to engage the public in riparian forest buffer training and plantings.

On June 19, 2014, the Alliance organized a gathering of key USDA and CREP leaders to kick-off a Riparian Forest Buffer Strategy Initiative. This meeting highlighted the unique importance of forest buffers to the Chesapeake restoration effort, the critical role of CREP in achieving restoration goals and the challenges facing CREP outreach and enrollment. Participants included USDA leadership, CREP program leads for the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, state conservationists, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and heads of state agency partners. Since June, the Alliance has assisted and monitored progress of State Task Forces charged with the task of evaluating riparian buffer programs and CREP performance in the state, and identifying and discussing options for enhancement. The Alliance will work with a Steering Committee to finalize a report of findings from the Riparian Forest Buffer Outreach Initiative and present these findings to USDA Leadership.

(BEES) is a collaborative webinar series offered by the Alliance, the USDA Forest Service, and the USDA Farm Service Agency. In this informative series, local experts share practical knowledge, lessons learned, and the most current science and technology for restoring riparian forest buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This series ran from November 2015 to April 2016. To  watch previously recorded webinars, click here.

The Alliance updated and enhanced Pennsylvania’s guidance on buffer management. This document includes a toolkit that helps the novice group to install and protect buffers. We use this document to train groups: PA DEP Riparian Forest Buffer Guidance (.pdf)

This collaborative website being developed by the Alliance will be a comprehensive resource for natural resource professionals, local governments, non-profits and any other group and organization interested or already engaged in implementing riparian forest buffers. To visit the website, click here.

Urban Forests

trees lining urban sidebarWhatever size your community, your local tree canopy provides an array of benefits that we often take for granted. Trees create healthy, vibrant communities – cleaning the air, reducing stormwater pollution, providing shade and energy savings, nurturing wildlife, and enhancing the local economy and quality of life.

We are partnering with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake to provide education on the links between congregational teachings and environmental stewardship and to organize tree planting events on the properties of houses of worship. Since 2013, people of faith have planted over 1,000 trees! Learn more about the Trees for Sacred Places program.
The TreeBaltimore partnership aims to empower the residents of Baltimore City to embrace trees as the most cost effective means to a healthier, more affordable, safer, and cleaner community. We are working to increase the rate of tree plantings in Baltimore City at an accelerated rate. We do this through a targeted, ongoing marketing program to engender a favorable shift in attitudes of the residents of the City towards tree planting and by building the capacity of the local planting partners to handle the expected increase in demand for trees. Current efforts include a research program to identify the perceived benefits of and barriers to planting trees in Baltimore, monthly TreeUp events, and an online marketing campaign for TreeUp events.
The Alliance, funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, has partnered with Franklin County Planning Department to help reach its goal of planting 150,000 trees by 2016 through the Trees for Tomorrow program. Through the Trees for Tomorrow project, the Alliance is providing technical and financial assistance to local governments, non-profit institutions, and private landowners in the Conococheague Creek watershed (a tributary of the Potomac River) to accelerate riparian buffer plantings and turf-to-trees initiatives.
Connecting you with tools, best practices, and resources to know what you have, plant and care for trees, and protect your canopy. We are building this resource as we go, so please send your ideas and suggestions for how to make the network most helpful. To visit the website, click here.

Forest Health

This project supports a locally-led effort with a growing partnership focused on a priority area for water quality, the Prettyboy watershed with one of three reservoirs supplying water to 1.8 million people in and around Baltimore City. The Prettyboy Resource Collaborative is being formed as a coalition of private, local government, and state/federal partners, building on previous cooperation among the Prettyboy Watershed Alliance, Baltimore County, Baltimore City reservoir land management section, MD Forest Service and Alliance’s Forests for the Bay. The Collaborative effort is being introduced to better address the demands of sustainable management in a parcelized landscape, developing a pathway for landowners to aggregate themselves for better access to forest product markets or lower prices for needed services like invasive species control.
In partnership with the Maryland Forestry Foundation and MD Forest Service, we are implementing upland and riparian tree plantings on private lands in Maryland that are targeted to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Alliance for the Chesapeake has engaged in a collaborative, mutli-year initiative to help restore upland and bottom forests of Corcoran Environmental Study Area. This 215 acre forested property, which is commonly referred to as “Corcoran Woods”, is owned and operated by the Maryland Park Service as part of Sandy Point State Park.
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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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