National Park Service
Chesapeake Conservancy is the principal partner to the National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Office on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways (Gateways) program and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (Chesapeake Trail).
Chesapeake Conservancy supports NPS with their responsibilities for five of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement goals, including: land conservation, public access, stewardship, diversity and education. This Gateways program has provided critical support for the NPS’s role in the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and the collective effort to protect and restore the Bay.
Established by Congress in 1998, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways program enhances conservation stewardship by connecting people with the Chesapeake Bay through outdoor recreation opportunities, exhibits and interpretive trail signage, and youth programs.
The Gateways program has allowed the National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Office to provide approximately $22 million in financial and technical assistance for more than 360 projects in communities across the watershed, improving Bay access and fueling our thriving outdoor recreation economy.
Chesapeake Bay Program
The Chesapeake Bay Program, managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center partners with CBP to provide high resolution land cover data and tools to better inform conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
The Chesapeake Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have a cooperative agreement to work together on projects that protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Conservancy provides technical assistance and public outreach services to promote the conservation of ecosystems, including the protection and restoration of critical fish and wildlife habitat along the great rivers of the Chesapeake. Under the agreement the two organizations work together to create and provide technical and communications services to engage the public and expand the potential for conservation and restoration of significant ecological and cultural resources in the Chesapeake Bay and along the rivers. Chesapeake Conservancy is also engaging other partners in this work, including the National Geographic Society. The work supports Executive Order #13508, which called for “Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.”
Bureau of Land Management
In November 2021, the Bureau of Land Management Eastern States held a ceremony commemorating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chesapeake Conservancy. The MOU establishes a general framework for cooperation between the BLM and the Chesapeake Conservancy. Roles and responsibilities between both parties are clearly defined to preserve, interpret, and enhance the enjoyment of the Chesapeake Bay area.
We work with state environmental and natural resource agencies in all the watershed states on specific projects, including efforts to connect the historic and ecologic components of the Chesapeake Trail and to secure the conservation of special places. In some cases, such as along the Nanticoke River, we are a part of formal partnership agreements with the States to work collaboratively together to identify and implement best practices for the protection, restoration and enhancement of the watershed’s natural, historic and cultural resources. In the cases of our community-based conservation initiatives along the James River and the Susquehanna River, state agencies have been involved in the stakeholder engagement process and are core partners in the implementation process. And yet in other cases, such as along the Potomac River, we are working with the States to create management plans to enhance the visibility and visitor experience along the Chesapeake Trail.
We work with countless community partners on projects including implementing the Chesapeake Trail, carrying out river-corridor land conservation initiatives, increasing public access to the Trail, interpreting the region’s ecology, history, and culture, and innovating new ways to prioritize and inspire conservation.