ANNAPOLIS, Md.--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry's Chesapeake Watershed Forestry office teamed with partners to hold a 2-day Riparian Forest Buffer Forum in Buckeystown, MD. The forum brought together approximately 100 Federal, State, and local stakeholders from the six-state region, to share strategies on how to attain the steep goals for riparian buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Topics included how buffers help meet other Chesapeake goals, buffer initiatives, partnering for outreach and implementation, and Farm Bill programs and policies. Learn about forest buffers at the Chesapeake Bay Program web site and blog.
Forest buffers, or the trees, shrubs and other plants that grow along streams and rivers, are critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Forest buffers prevent pollution from entering waterways, stabilize stream banks, provide critters with food and habitat, and keep streams cool during hot weather (to the benefit of sensitive aquatic species). Chesapeake Bay Program partners are working to restore 900 miles of forest buffers per year until 70 percent of all stream banks and shorelines in the watershed are buffered. Since 1996, a total of 8,152 miles of forest buffers have been planted along rivers and streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. While progress is being made to restore streamside trees and shrubs, it is slow: since 2009, plantings have declined almost every year.