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Land Conservation

The landscapes around the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are ecologically, culturally, historically and recreationally valuable to the people and communities of the region. Stimulating, renewing and expanding commitments to conserve priority lands for use and enjoyment are integral parts of furthering the watershed’s identity and spirit.

Goal: Conserve landscapes treasured by citizens in order to maintain water quality and habitat; sustain working forests, farms and maritime communities; and conserve lands of cultural, indigenous and community value.


Protected Lands Outcome: By 2025, protect an additional two million acres of lands throughout the watershed—currently identified as high-conservation priorities at the federal, state or local level—including 225,000 acres of wetlands and 695,000 acres of forest land of highest value for maintaining water quality.

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Land Use Methods and Metrics Development Outcome: Continually improve the knowledge of land conversion and the associated impacts throughout the watershed. By 2016, develop a watershed-wide methodology and local-level metrics for characterizing the rate of farmland, forest and wetland conversion, measuring the extent and rate of change in impervious surface coverage and quantifying the potential impacts of land conversion to water quality, healthy watersheds and communities. Launch a public awareness campaign to share this information with local governments, elected officials and stakeholders.

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Land Use Options Evaluation Outcome: By the end of 2017, with the direct involvement of local governments or their representatives, evaluate policy options, incentives and planning tools that could assist them in continually improving their capacity to the reduce the rate of conversion of agricultural lands, forests and wetlands as well as the rate of changing landscapes from more natural lands that soak up pollutants to those that are paved over, hardscaped or otherwise impervious. Strategies should be developed for supporting local governments’ and others’ efforts in reducing these rates by 2025 and beyond.

Learn more about this outcome or related management strategy.

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