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Chesapeake Bay

David Wise, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Story Highlights
  • With your support, The Nature Conservancy is helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed
  • A partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Trout Unlimited is restoring key tributaries of the Bay
  • Partner David Wise of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation highlights the need for strategic partnerships in successfully protecting the vast watershed

“The maturity and scientific rationale that the Conservancy brings to freshwater conservation is a big deal.” – David Wise, watershed restoration manager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

David Wise spent many summer days swimming and netting fish in Indian Run, a 10-minute bike ride from his childhood home.  Back then, the stream was the summer home of many dairy cows, with “detrimental effects on the quality of the water,” says Wise, a watershed restoration manager for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  

Indian Run is just one of thousands of streams whose waters eventually wind up in the Chesapeake Bay.  An amazingly productive system, the bay and its watershed support legendary marine and freshwater life that feed millions of people, is a source of drinking water and serve as the economic backbone for the region. But Wise says that streams like Indian Run can contribute to the bay’s declining health when not properly managed.

“Indian Run is part of a vast system of waterways, covering about 65,000 square miles, that course through farmland and areas of development, along the way picking up excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that sicken the bay,” he says. 

Addressing threats of this scope means forging strong partnerships and identifying the right conservation practices, at the right places and in the right watersheds.  Together with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation have teamed up to do just that. 

The coalition’s project to restore water quality and brook trout habitat in parts of the watershed is still young, but expectations are high, Wise says. “The Conservancy has done their homework, and I know they’ll lead our work in a way that allows the three cooperating organizations to contribute in a complementary capacity. The maturity and scientific rationale that the Conservancy brings to freshwater conservation is a big deal.”

Although the three organizations bring different skillsets to this project, Wise says that in the end everyone hopes for the same thing: a healthy bay that will support the needs of people and nature for generations to come.

With your help and our partners we are improving water quality and brook trout habitat in the Juniata Watershed and portions of the Lower Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds within PA.
  Techniques include: 

(1) Using spatial analysis to identify priority areas where restoration will have the greatest impact on water quality

(2) Helping landowners participate more effectively in Farm Bill conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

(3) Restoring forests and excluding livestock from key sections of river corridors 

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