ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new report is looking at land conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and it highlights a conservation easement at a local farm.
The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership released its Marking Milestones: Progress in Conserving Land in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed report on Wednesday.
According to a release, this is the most comprehensive survey of land conservation and funding in the watershed in a decade.
The report showcases success stories of people who have worked to protect land, including Tom and Kim Nixon, the owners of Glenmary Farm in Orange County.
The Nixons worked with the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service to put 372 acres of their farm into a conservation easement, protecting it from development.
The property is productive farmland as well as riparian protection along the Rapidan River and wildlife habitat.
Other highlighted profiles include new wildlife management areas and urban parks.
The release also says there is much more to do due to ecosystem decline, loss of plant and animal species, and land conversion due to population growth within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and around the world.
"American's great estuary, with all the benefits it provides, must be managed as a system," said Thomas Lovejoy, a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and a professor in the George Mason University Department of Environmental Science and Policy. "The pioneering and farsighted Chesapeake Conservation Partnership report spotlights the remarkable achievement of protecting 22 percent of the land in the watershed. Yet that is not enough. Emerging scientific consensus recognizes the need to protect 30 percent of the watershed by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050, setting a visionary example for the world on how to save the environment and humanity."
By the end of 2018, the Chesapeake Bay Program says more than 1.35 million acres of land throughout the bay's watershed have been permanently protected since 2010.
That amount of land is 68 percent of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement's goal to protect two million acres by 2025. This agreement was signed in 2014 by the then governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia as well as the mayor of Washington, D.C., the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.
"The six states within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have some of the leading land conservation programs in the nation," said Chesapeake Bay Commission Executive Director Ann P. Swanson. "Collectively, these states have invested more than $300 million in just one recent fiscal year. The federal government also plays an important role, though at a smaller scale. This report showcases the impact of these efforts and highlights the ongoing commitment of landowners to conserve their lands. But it also documents that landowner interest far exceeds available funding."
To read the full report, click on the link in the Related Links box.