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© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Protected Lands

With the signing of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement  in 2014, Chesapeake conservation partners are committed to “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” by 2025, building on a 2010 baseline of 7.8 million acres. This carries forward the same goal as set out through the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order.

Tracking carried out since 2010 shows that as of 2016 a watershed-wide total of over 8.8 million acres are currently protected, representing 22% of the land area in the watershed. This marks an achievement of 50 percent of the goal to protect an additional two million acres of land throughout the watershed since 2010. Note, however, that improvements in reporting have produced a more comprehensive and accurate account of land protection in the watershed. A portion of the 1,004,577 acres recorded from 2010 through 2016 was likely protected before 2010, but the extent of this is not feasible to document.

Protected Lands in the 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 mid 2016.

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  • Protected Areas Database of the U.S.

    The Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) displays publicly and privately owned land that is managed at least in part for the purposes of conservation.

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  • National Conservation Easement Database

    The National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is the first national database of conservation easement information, compiling records from land trusts and public agencies throughout the United States.

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State Protected Area Maps in the Chesapeake Watershed

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