© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Chesapeake: Protected Lands


This dataset is an aggregated layer of protected lands in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and intersecting counties. It is a combination of multiple state, federal and non-governmental organization sources. Overlapping and duplicate areas have been deleted to address double counting of acres. It is current as of late 2018 early 2019.

Data Layer Description


The Chesapeake Bay Program and various other organizations and agencies including, but not limited to datasets listed on the LandScope Chesapeake Protected Lands Protected Areas page.


The Chesapeake Bay Watershed and intersecting counties.

Scale: Data is approximately accurate to a scale of 1 : 24,000. Due to multiple sources of data, the user should use caution.


This dataset is comprised of multiple federal, state and non-governmental organization protected lands datasets.  The Chesapeake Bay Program undertook a data collection effort in late 2018 for protected lands through 2018. The data collected were in most cases current as of the end of 2018.   Only authoritative data sources were used in the compilation of this data set.  The process for creating the dataset is as follows.  The Protected Areas Database (PAD_US) (v 2.0) which included National Conservation Easement Dataset as well. The PAD_US dataset was then compared with each state/commonwealth who provided data related to their protected lands directly to the Chesapeake Bay Program. The state/commonwealth data was used as the primary source and took precedence over PAD_US for state and local protected areas. The 2016 Chesapeake Bay Protected Lands dataset was the used to fill in any missing data. Once all data sources were compared and overlain and the most authoritative data was selected, the parcels from various sources were merged into the new 2018 dataset.

How to get the data layer

Direct questions and data requests to Renee Thompson, USGS.

How you might make use of this data layer

The purpose of this dataset is to track the acres of land preserved in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  As a part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement signed in 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership adopted a goal to, by 2025, protect an additional two million acres of lands throughout the watershed—currently identified as high-conservation priorities at the federal, state or local level—including 225,000 acres of wetlands and 695,000 acres of forest land of highest value for maintaining water quality.

In addition, the creators of the dataset wanted to make a complete protected lands layer available for others that could be used for general mapping purposes, development of land use strategies, or land conservation targeting to name a few.

How to get more information

For information on individual data layers or sources refer to the “source” attribute for each parcel.  Always use the source data or refer to the originator for the most current information.

More information on protected lands data and tracking efforts can be found on the Chesapeake Bay Program's Protected Lands page.

Access and use constraints

None. Please check sources, scale, accuracy, currentness and other available information. Please confirm that you are using the most recent copy of both data and metadata. Acknowledgement of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program would be appreciated.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program Office

Sample Map

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