Despite strong regional and local goals to expand urban tree canopy in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, implementation lags behind intentions. Recent land cover analyses show losses in tree canopy coverage, and it is unlikely that the region will reach the goal set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Agreement to expand urban and community tree canopy by 2,400 acres between 2014 and 2025. Local and state governments have made progress addressing gaps in tree canopy policy and funding, but more work is needed to identify key gaps, set priorities, and chart a pathway toward accelerated implementation. Further, the region’s tree canopy approach needs a stronger focus on equity and climate resilience to address long-standing inequities in tree canopy distribution in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The EFC is supporting the Chesapeake Bay Program Goal Implementation Team Project Initiative in advancing tree canopy progress by designing and delivering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Tree Canopy Policy and Funding Roundtable. This virtual, interactive event will engage strategically selected local and state leaders to identify new funding, policy, and programmatic solution pathways to address key challenges and opportunities. It will build on prior Partnership tree canopy work and share the best available data, tools and innovative approaches to strengthen tree canopy outcomes toward climate resilience and equity. In order to guide the Roundtable design, EFC will facilitate pre- and post-Roundtable Jurisdiction Strategy Sessions with state and local leaders to identify each jurisdiction’s tree canopy needs and priorities. To augment the reach of findings, EFC will compile presentations and prepare briefing papers to be posted online. The team will also distill findings from the Roundtable and Jurisdiction Strategy Sessions and generate a suite of strategies and actions that could be pursued in each jurisdiction to advance tree canopy goals.