A broad collaborative effort is taking place throughout the Chesapeake region to restore water quality, revive and sustain natural resources, protect cultural landscapes, and provide more locations for water access and outdoor recreation. Furthering this, National Park Service Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Conservancy regularly convene non-governmental, local, state and federal partners to collaborate on strategies for landscape conservation, specific actions across jurisdictional boundaries, and shared expertise.
The Chesapeake region, encompassing the Bay, rivers, and their watersheds, has a long-standing history of innovation and commitment towards conserving landscapes that contribute to environmental health, economic well-being and the quality of life for millions of people. Over the years, Chesapeake landscape conservation initiatives have served as national examples and spawned adoption across broader regions. Much of this leadership has occurred at the state level, with vastly successful land protection programs in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13508 declaring the Chesapeake Bay "a national treasure" and recognizing the nationally significant assets of the watershed in the form of "public lands, facilities, military installations, parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and museums." The order called for a strategy for protecting and restoring the Chesapeake, including advancing land conservation and public access. The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay helps foster watershed-wide collaboration in carrying out this aspect of the strategy.
Today, landscape conservation efforts in the Chesapeake watershed might best be summed up by these characteristics:
- leadership by organizations and agencies at all levels in pursuing innovative approaches to land conservation and landscape recognition;
- attention to addressing the multiple values of the watershed's natural, cultural, historical, economic and recreational wealth;
- willingness and commitment to collaborate across jurisdictions -- both within specific landscapes and throughout the watershed as a whole; and,
- dedicated citizens, landowners and stakeholders who continue to push for - and carry out - conservation.
Collaborative work with partners has resulted in several publications and initiatives. Visit the sites below to learn more:Chesapeake Conservation Partnership website
Large Landscape Conservation Partnership Analysis
Indigenous Cultural Landscapes
Conservation Strategy for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail