Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program

Healthy Streams, Farm Stewardship

A whole-farm approach to conservation planning

The 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.

Prioritizing Riparian Buffers

The program is unique in that it places a high value on riparian forest buffers, the land that serves as a link between the land with our rivers and streams. These buffers are a priority conservation practice due to their unique ability to immediately improve water quality as well as provide many other ecosystem services like sustaining fish habitat, reducing air pollution, and creating contiguous habitat corridors for birds and other wildlife.

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.

Interested in Finding Out More?

Contact Craig Highfield, Director of Chesapeake Forests Program at the Alliance.

Email Craig

Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program