Forest restoration may be the single most important activity to help bring back the Chesapeake ecosystem. Forests are a critical ecosystem component that supports major Chesapeake Bay goals—clean water, healthy watersheds, wildlife habitat, fisheries, land conservation, citizen stewardship, and climate change response. For these reasons, this document was developed as a key supporting action in the 2010 Executive Order (13508) Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
During 2011-2012, the U.S. Forest Service coordinated teams with over 60 representatives from over 30 Federal, State, and nongovernmental organizations to craft the Chesapeake Forest Restoration Strategy. A draft of the Strategy was released in July 2012 for public review, and the valuable input received has been incorporated into the final document. The Strategy has been endorsed by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and was officially released on December 5 in a signing ceremony with the U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale, and State Foresters from the Bay jurisdictions.
Accelerating forest restoration in the Chesapeake will require collaboration among partners in a broad network—Federal and State agencies, local governments, watershed and community organizations, and private partners. The Strategy’s sections advance innovative and collaborative approaches to targeting restoration in areas of greatest opportunity and benefit, focusing on wildlife and fisheries habitat, mine lands, agroforestry, urban and community forestry, and contaminated lands such as brownfields. The Strategy builds on earlier commitments by the Chesapeake Bay States and Federal partners to restore streamside forested buffers at a rate of 900 miles per year and support community tree canopy expansion goals. To learn more and get involved in this partnership effort, please contact Sally Claggett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Julie Mawhorter (email@example.com) of the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forestry program.
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