We all care about having clean water. But at a human level, relate more personally to something bigger – the landscapes that surround us.
We can all speak eloquently about these places because they have great meaning.
But we can also begin to look at the elements that make up these landscapes. Here in the Chesapeake region, often focus first on landscape values associated with ecological importance. But, we also recognize that cultural value provides deep significance as well. We are just as compelled by the stories of the Eastern Shore’s working landscapes as we are the great natural areas.
Why is an initiative so necessary? What drives the need for greater conservation efforts in these landscapes?
17 million people live in the Bay watershed today; 1.5 million more will arrive every decade.
We often think of land conservation as expensive. But let’s put it in perspective. The cost to permanently protect an acre of forest or farm land varies by location and size of acquisition: rural VA (Northern Neck) - $5,000 to $7,500; lower Susquehanna PA - $5,000 to $20,000.
Restoring riparian forest buffers is estimated at $160 million per year for maintenance, land rental, and incentives. (2004 CB Watershed Blue Ribbon Finance Panel).
Yet, public access is limited in the Bay region – less than 2% of the Chesapeake’s tidal shoreline is publically accessible. Compare this with the entire Oregon Pacific shoreline which is 100% accessible.
Public Access to and from the water is consistently ranked as a high need by states and the public.
Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative<br />“For America’s national character—our optimism, our dreams, our shared stories—are rooted in our landscapes. We each have places we love. For me, it is the San Luis Valley in Colorado. It is the lands my family has farmed for five generations. The waters of the San Antonio River. The snows on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”<br />Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, March 30, 2009<br />
Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative<br />“As Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent. Our lands have always provided great bounty—food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers; the raw materials that grew our industry; the energy that powers our economy. What these gifts require in return is our wise and responsible stewardship.”<br />President Barack Obama, March 30, 2009<br />
Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative<br />Definition<br />Treasured landscapes are special places we revere as individuals, as communities and as a people for their ecological, historical or recreational values – for their role in maintaining and renewing our identity and spirit as a people. Most of these landscapes are large; they are the settings or surroundings in which life in the Chesapeake region plays out. Some are protected or formally recognized as parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites or heritage areas, but others are not; they are sweeping segments of the countryside – forests, farming communities, and natural areas (many linked to the water) – that we recognize as creating the sense of place that is the Chesapeake region.<br />