The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. The health of the Bay has been in decline for several decades. Excess nutrients flowing into the Bay from agriculture and developed land have caused the development of “dead zones”—areas of water depleted of oxygen where nothing can live. This watershed was once 95 percent wooded. Today, only about 55 percent of the watershed is forested, and that percentage continues to decrease by about 100 acres per day.
The health of the Chesapeake Bay starts with the water that flows off the land and into tributaries of the Bay. There are 288,000 miles of riparian waterways that form the Chesapeake watershed. Many of these tributaries lack sufficient riparian forest buffers—a critical component of the system. Riparian forest buffers function as filters to reduce sedimentation and nutrient loads in the watershed, improving the conditions of the immediate streams and all water heading downstream to the Bay.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a 5-year Presidential initiative that began in Fiscal Year 2010 to protect and restore the water quality and ecosystems of the Great Lakes region. Funding is provided to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the program and distributes funds to Federal agencies, States, tribes, municipalities, and nongovernmental organizations. Funded projects advance the GLRI Action Plan and provide immediate, direct ecological benefits.
Riparian forest buffers have been identified as a valuable nutrient reduction tool when used in conjunction with other conservation practices.
Second in a Three-Part Manual Series on Using Trees to Protect and Restore Urban Watersheds
The Best Management Practices (BMP) protocol project is a cooperative effort of the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters- Water Resources Committee (NAASF-WRC), Steven Koehn, Maryland State Forester, chairperson. The project has been funded by grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Section 319 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. sec.
This manual provides detailed guidance on urban tree planting that is applicable at both the development site and the watershed scales. Topics covered include site assessment, planting design, site preparation and other pre-planting considerations, and planting and maintenance techniques. An urban tree selection guide is included for use in selecting the best tree and shrub species for the planting site.
This publication introduces the emerging topic of urban watershed forestry. It also presents new methods for the watershed planner or forester to systematically measure watershed forest cover and select the best methods for maintaining or increasing this cover by protecting, enhancing, and reforesting large parcels of primarily public land across the watershed. These methods are based on extensive review of the latest research and input from experts in a wide range of related fields.
Forests are critically important to the supply of clean drinking water in the Northeast and Midwest portion of the United States. In this part of the country more than 52 million people depend on surface water supplies that are protected in large part by forested lands. The public is generally unaware of the threats to their water supplies or the connection between clean water and the extent and condition of forest lands in source water watersheds. The future security of water supplies will not be ensured by a focus on water treatment alone.