Chesapeake RFB Initiative

2022 Leadership Workshop and State Action Strategies

As a result of the biennial Strategy Review System meeting in May 2021 and recommendations from the Chesapeake Bay Program Outcome Attainability Team, the Management Board placed renewed emphasis on accelerating progress towards meeting the forest buffer outcome. The Forestry Workgroup organized a leadership workshop in spring 2022 to help refine state-level forest buffer action strategies and develop recommendations for partnership roles in advancing buffer goals.

Previous Efforts

From 2008-2014, the rate of restoration declined. A push to accelerate restoration began with a Leadership Summit in June 2014 and resulted in state task force reports. Information from the state task force reports were rolled into the Chesapeake Riparian Forest Buffer Management Strategy and Workplan.


First Chesapeake Bay Agreement Signed

The original Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed on December 9, 1983.

Directive 94-1 for RFB

In 1994, the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council developed and adopted Directive 94-1 which called upon the Chesapeake Bay Program to develop a set of goals and actions to increase the focus on riparian stewardship and enhance efforts to conserve and restore riparian forest buffers.

RFB Panel Report

A final report on the findings of the Riparian Forest Buffer Panel created by the Directive 94-1 was published in 1996. The report included various findings and recommendations for definitions, goals, and policies.

First RFB Goal Set

A new goal, “2,010 miles by 2010” is made, on November 27, 1996. This goal is reiterated in the C2K.

Maryland CREP Agreement

In 1997, Maryland established the first Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the country. CREP is a cooperative program that pays landowners to plant field edges and borders that protect water quality and wildlife. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 10–15 years, along with federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement.

Delaware CREP Agreement

Delaware gets its first CREP agreement on June 1st, 1996, which emphasizes the practice of riparian forest buffers on marginal farm land.

Pennsylvania and Virginia CREP Agreements

In 2000, Pennsylvania and Virginia get their first CREP agreements which emphasizes the practice of riparian forest buffers on marginal farm land.

Chesapeake 2000

A new Chesapeake Bay Agreement, “Chesapeake 2000”, is signed on June 28, 2000. It includes the following: By 2002, ensure that measures are in place to meet our riparian forest buffer restoration goal of 2,010 miles by 2010 By 2003, establish a new goal to expand buffer mileage. Conserve existing forests along all streams and shorelines. Promote the expansion and connection of contiguous forests through conservation easements, greenways, purchase and other land conservation mechanisms.

West Virginia CREP Agreement

West Virginia gets its first CREP agreement on April 1, 2002, which emphasizes the practice of riparian forest buffers on marginal farm land.

New York CREP Agreement

New York gets its first CREP agreement on May 9, 2002, which emphasizes the practice of riparian forest buffers on marginal farm land.

Directive 3-1: Expanding RFB Goals

In 2003, the Chesapeake Executive Council developed Directive 03-1 which called upon the Chesapeake Bay Program to adopt an expanded set of goals to conserve and restore forests along 70% of streams, assess urban forests, and create a urban tree canopy goals.

State of Chesapeake Forest

The State of Chesapeake Forests report is published on September 1, 2006.

Directive 6-1: Protecting Chesapeake Forests

In 2006, the Chesapeake Executive Council developed Directive 06-1 which called upon the Chesapeake Bay Program to commit to developing a collective goal to be adopt in 2007 for conserving forestland in the watershed where conservation to protect water quality is most needed.

Protecting Forests: Call to Action

In 2007, the council’s response document to Directive 06-1 identified specific actions to conserve and restore forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A press release on these forest conservation goals click here.

2010 Goal Achieved

As of 2010, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia restored 2,283 miles of riparian forest buffers along rivers and streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, meeting the C2K goal 8 years ahead of schedule.

Chesapeake Bay TMDL Begins

On December 29, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Learn more about the TMDL here.

Steering Committee

A Steering Committee is established in 2014, composed of leaders from federal and state agencies and key stakeholders engaged in riparian forest buffer efforts in the Chesapeake watershed guided efforts to increase RFBs.

RFB State Leads Identified

Understanding the need for state leadership to improve RFB restoration, the Principal Staff Committee appointed State Leads in 2014: DE: Marcia Fox MD: Anne Hairston-Strang NY: Karen Stainbrook PA: Matt Keefer VA: Greg Evans WV: Herb Peddicord

Innovators’ Roundtable

On May 21, 2014, a group of experts from public and private organizations gathered around the table to document forest buffer establishment successes and challenges and to outline areas of discussion for agency leadership and State Task Forces.

State Task Forces

A key outcome of the Leadership Summit, in 2014 the State Task Forces were formed in each state with the outcome to write a report that could serve as a blueprint for moving forward with the riparian forest buffer practice.

RFB Leadership Summit

Key leaders gathered in Washington DC on June 12, 2014 to highlight the unique importance of forest buffers to the Chesapeake, seek consensus on the issues that should be addressed, and commit to a process and allocation of staff resources that would result in more riparian forest buffers.

Executive Council Action

The Chesapeake Executive Council signed Resolution 2015-#1 to take action on certain elements of the RFB State Task Force reports.

RFB Workplan

On October 1st, 2015, the 2016-2017 Workplan to accelerate riparian forest restoration was developed primarily by the states and a large group of interested stakeholders.

Chesapeake Shared Stewardship Agreement

The USDA Forest Service and state agencies signed the Chesapeake Shared Stewardship Agreement on October 8, 2020, to establish a framework for working in partnership to implement the actions identified in the Chesapeake Forest Restoration Strategy.

2021-2022 RFB Workplan

The 2021-2022 logic and action plan for riparian forest buffers was updated on January 8, 2021.

Chesapeake RFB Leadership Workshop

The Forestry Workgroup organized a leadership workshop in spring 2022 to help refine state-level forest buffer action strategies and develop recommendations for Partnership roles in advancing buffer goals

All TMDL Practices in Place

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL was prompted by insufficient restoration progress and continued poor water quality in the Bay and its rivers. Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) detail how and when the six Bay states and the District of Columbia will meet their pollution allocations by 2025.