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Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant

Easement and Buffer Overview for Landowners


 Contact Dr Anthony Palombaro [] for more details. Anthony is a member of our organization.



  • Conservation easements or land acquired with funding from this RFA must protect and/or restore a riparian buffer that meets Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Conservation Practice Standard 391 for Riparian Forested Buffers ( or NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 393 for Filter Strips (
  • Buffers must be between a minimum of 35 feet in width and a maximum of 180 feet in width, unless otherwise justified by the applicant and approved by DEC.
  • For newly restored buffers, the applicant must develop and implement a maintenance plan during the buffer establishment period. Buffers must meet the NRCS Practice Standard referenced above within a 3-5 year period after planting.




  • All conservation easements must be acquired in perpetuity. Term easements are not eligible for funding through this grant opportunity.
  • If the property is used for activities which interfere with the accomplishment of approved purposes, the violating activities must cease and any resulting adverse effects must be remedied.
  • The following components must be addressed in every deed of conservation easement agreement:

1) The riparian buffer area must be delineated by width in feet starting from the top of the streambank of an identified waterway and length in feet along the identified waterway.

2) Disturbances that compromise the ecological and functional health of the riparian buffer area under easement, including livestock access to the riparian buffer, wood or timber harvesting, and recreational vehicular use must be prohibited.

3) Only native plants are allowed to be planted within the defined riparian buffer area.

4) Selective cutting of trees, removal of invasive species, or supplemental planting of trees, shrubs, or grasses are allowed provided they improve habitat and function of the riparian buffer or remove, mitigate, or warn against unreasonable harm to people, property or health of native species on or around the defined riparian buffer area.

5) Additional buildings not permitted.

6) Annual property visit to monitor the easement.

  • Does not require allowing public access to your property






  • Per acre fee to landowner for buffer easement acreage
  • Transactions costs = Title report, appraisal, property survey, filing fee. These costs can be for just the riparian buffer portion or for a whole property (or portion of the property) easement beyond just the buffer if desired.
  • Stewardship funding – partial to whole
  • Fencing installation if needed to exclude livestock



  • Lands enrolled in CRP or other federal programs not eligible for funding
  • Need to assess the removal of acreage and effect on agricultural tax exemption
  • Surface gas leases may limit extent of buffer distance