Maryland Expands Rural Legacy Program

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently announced $25 million in Rural Legacy Program grants and the creation of new and expanded Rural Legacy Areas. Maryland's Rural Legacy Program "provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries." State grant funds support acquisition of conservation easements or fee simple purchases from willing sellers within the 32 designated Rural Legacy ...

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New Report Issued on Landscape Scale Conservation

The Network for Landscape Conservation just issued a new report -- Pathways Forward: Progress and Priorities in Landscape Conservation. It's well worth reading. Here in the Chesapeake watershed, we have working at landscape scales for years -- the Chesapeake Bay Program on water quality and other values; the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership on land conservation across the whole watershed; and partnership members on regional landscapes within the broader Chesapeake -- like the Piedmont, the Eastern Shore, the Potomac River, Pennsylvania Wilds, and many more. The ...

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New Land Protection to Provide Habitat & Recreation

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced last week it will acquire a new wildlife management area in Queen Anne's County on the upper Eastern Shore. The 1,172 acre property will support habitat conservation and outdoor recreation. “This acquisition is an exciting win for both conservation advocates as well as outdoor enthusiasts,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “This large and incredibly beautiful property on the Upper Eastern Shore will protect ecologically-sensitive habitat while providing the public an excellent location ...

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Popularity of State Parks Continues to Grow

State parks in Chesapeake states are attracting more and more visitors. A number of parks actually fill up early on many summer days and have to turn people away. Virginia state parks reported a record level of over ten million visitors in 2016. Pennsylvania state parks topped forty million that same year. In Maryland, state park visitation has increased by forty percent since 2009. A story in the Washington Post last week reports on the challenges and the needs at Maryland state parks. Last year gates at heavily used parks had to be closed 122 times due to ...

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Revisions to National Environmental Policy Act?

The Council on Environmental Quality has announced that procedures for carrying out theNational Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will be updated. Public comments are invited on the proposed review through Monday, August 20. Since 1970, this Act has been the cornerstone for ensuring federal agencies evaluate the impacts of their actions on the human environment and consider a range of alternatives. For a quick overview of NEPA’s importance see this blog post from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Chesapeake Conservation Partnership member. Federal ...

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Ways for Visualizing How We Use Land

It's often difficult to grasp broader patterns of land use on a landscape. And yet we need to understand -- and communicate -- how much land is being used for what general function. It's perhaps even harder to do this when looking at the lower 48 states as a whole -- a "1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle of cities, farms, forests and pastures that Americans use to feed themselves, power their economy and extract value for business and pleasure." Bloomberg recently published a series of fourteen maps depicting how America uses its land. Take a look and scroll through the ...

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Communicating Landscape Values

Some of you may have seen this compelling video Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) produced in collaboration with Academy Award winning actor Robert Duvall. But we're guessing not all of you. Plus, it's always worth a re-watch. Take the thirty seconds. The video stands out to us because of the landscape values Duvall's words and the images communicate. It folds in the multi-faceted values the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership has embraced since the outset. Plus, it is personal testimony and a call to action to help conserve the Piedmont landscape. As ...

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Costing Out Lost Real Estate Value Due to Sea Level Rise

Coastal inundation from sea level rise is a serious issue in many locations along the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. A recent article profiles how Hampton Virginia is dealing with being at the front lines of the issue. New studies are beginning to assess the direct impact of coastal flooding on real estate values. Scientists with the First Street Foundation used publicly available data to calculate $7.4 billion in lost real estate values in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia between 2005 and 2017 -- because of coastal ...

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US Court of Appeals Vacates Key Pipeline Approvals

The three hundred mile Mountain Valley Pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia has drawn a lot of attention from those concerned with the impacts of energy infrastructure on landscape values in our region. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled the U.S Forest Service failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act when allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to go forward on federal lands. Further, the court ruled the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not fulfill its requirements under ...

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Diversity in the Outdoors

Like many organizations, corporations, and agencies in the conservation field, the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership wrestles with the compelling need to better reflect the diversity of America within our ranks. The U.S. is 38% minority today. The conservation field is far behind that. But there is a growing movement to be more inclusive and to recognize the importance of the outdoors among all peoples. Here's a Chesapeake example of engaging more folks outdoors. The Potomac Conservancy, a Partnership member, hosts a series of summertime "alternative happy hours" ...

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