The USDA Forest Service and partners released the Chesapeake Forest Restoration storymap highlighting collaborative restoration efforts throughout the watershed during Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.
The storymap shows how trees and forests throughout the watershed contribute to a healthy Chesapeake Bay. It also describes specific practices and strategies for restoring forests in different landscapes and contains information about the role that forest restoration can play in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
“The Chesapeake Forest Restoration storymap is a wonderful resource to learn how forests support the local environment and communities within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” said Dr. Kandis Boyd, Director, Chesapeake Bay Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “This new resource will help deepen our knowledge of forest restoration and support stewardship in our communities. Stakeholders can use this publication to guide their work in increasing tree canopy and forest buffers in their jurisdiction.”
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, with a watershed that covers 64,000 square miles. This region encompasses 150 major rivers and streams and is home to more than 18 million people.
Forests cover 60 percent of the watershed, extending from the Appalachian Mountains to the coastal plains. These forests provide numerous benefits such as wildlife habitat, recreation, air and water filtration and flood control.
“The Forest Service has long been committed to working with partners to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Bob Lueckel, Deputy Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region. “Due to the mosaic of forest ownerships throughout the watershed, collaborative forest management efforts with the states, nonprofits, private forest owners and the Chesapeake Bay Program have been vital to protect the health of the bay.”
In October 2020, the Chesapeake Bay shared stewardship agreement was signed by then USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and the State Foresters of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.