What’s Next in Conservation? Biodiversity, says E.O. Wilson

Last week was the annual Esri User Conference, bringing together geographers, GIS (geographic information system) experts, conservationists and others from around the world -- including a number of folks from the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. In preparing for the conference, Esri CEO Jack Dangermond interviewed Edward O. Wilson, the great naturalist, scientist, thinker and conservationist, about what's next for inspiring conservation. Wilson's answer is direct: biodiversity. Take five minutes to watch this video of two visionaries. E.O. Wilson's impact on ...

Read More


Explore the Pennsylvania Wilds, a Great Conservation Landscape

Mostly within the Chesapeake watershed lies "one of the largest expanses of green between New York City and Chicago." The Pennsylvania Wilds, a conservation landscape launched in 2003 with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), encompasses more than two million acres of public lands. It's a great story. Take three minutes to watch this video. Here's how the Wilds describes the landscape: "Once the former lumber capital of the world, the region is home to ... 50 state game lands, 29 state parks, 8 state forests, 2 National Wild & ...

Read More


Concerns over Possible Impacts to Views from Mount Vernon

Proposed energy infrastructure projects continue to raise concerns about impacts to scenic, historic and other resources in highly valued landscapes. One of the latest involves Mount Vernon and a Dominion Energy proposal for a natural gas compressor station in Charles County, Maryland. Officials at Mount Vernon, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and others expressed concern the development would intrude on views from the national historic landmark, located on the Virginia side of the Potomac. Here's the good news, at least for the time being: the Washing...

Read More


Bipartisan Leaders Pledge to Save Land & Water Conservation Fund

Last week, members of Congress from the House and Senate gathered at the U.S. Capitol with conservationists and outdoor recreation leaders to launch a 100 day push to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (#SaveLWCF) before it expires. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, supported by a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalties, has long been regarded as the nation's most important program for supporting conservation and recreation. LWCF enables conservation of national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, Civil War battlefields, state and ...

Read More


Appeals Court Halts Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia

On Thursday, June 21, a three judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for a stay of construction of portions of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia. The 303 mile Mountain Valley Pipeline is planned for transporting natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale production through West Virginia and Virginia, crossing over 500 streams and the Appalachian Mountains. A coalition of conservation organizations is challenging a permit issued for the project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act. With the stay, ...

Read More


Development

Another 4.5 million people are expected to live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2050. Where will these additional people live? How will that affect, or be affected by, land conservation efforts? This map projects where and how much development will occur between now and 2050. This map projects where and how much development will occur between now and 2050 per HUC 12 subwatershed. Today over 18 million people call the Bay watershed home. By 2050, the population will likely increase to 22.5 million. Based on historic trends, most of these people are expected to live ...

Read More


Farmland Preservation

Preserving farmland to support working farms and food supply has long been a focus of conservation efforts in many portions of the Chesapeake watershed. And those efforts have been remarkably successful. For example, since 1989 the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program has protected more than 500,000 acres on over 4,700 farms. Where is the capacity to support future farmland conservation? How is it concentrated? What does this suggest about where future farmland protection might be most likely or most effective? This map illustrates where ...

Read More


Focal Areas

Where are the existing focal areas of conservation work within the Chesapeake watershed? In other words, where are the landscapes that already have an on-going recognized, dedicated effort to conserve additional lands? This map illustrates landscapes within the Chesapeake watershed are the focus of current large-scale collaborative conservation efforts. They have the following characteristics: They are fairly large and iconic in their own right (i.e. multijurisdictional, at least at the county level; recognizable and known as a landscape unit; reflecting multiple ...

Read More


Inundation

A changing climate can have a wide range of impacts on the Chesapeake landscape. Among them are inundation and flooding associated with long-term sea level rise, changing rainfall regimes, and the impacts of major storms. In 2003, storm surge from Hurricane Isabel caused $1.2 billion (2017 USD) in damage in Maryland and the District of Columbia alone. Tropical Storm Lee created extensive flooding along the Susquehanna in 2011. Portions of lowlying cities like Norfolk and Annapolis now flood on a regular basis. Projected sea level rise will have substantial impacts to ...

Read More


Land Trusts

The land trust community has been protecting land for multiple values for decades. Today, some 100 regional, state, and local land trusts operate in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, collectively protecting more than 1.8 million acres of land. Many land trusts have significant capacity to protect more important lands in the future. The additional capacity of strategic, national land conservation partners can help accelerate conservation in areas of shared interest. How can we get a picture of where regional and local land trust capacity is currently concentrated in ...

Read More