Outreach to Critical Area Stakeholders on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

SHORE LAND STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL (SLSC), an initiative of Adkins Arboretum, is a partnership with nonprofit organizations, businesses and government agencies. Its purpose is to inform and empower individuals, businesses, communities and local governments in the mid-Shore counties of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot, to use more environmentally sound land stewardship practices in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, the 1,000 foot-wide area of land around the Bay and its tidal tributaries. The organization’s overall goal is to have a positive impact on water quality and the health of the Chesapeake Bay in keeping with the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area law.

This program addresses an urgent environmental need by providing an on-the-ground, direct, grassroots approach to reach those who make the decisions about the care of private lands. The SLSC helps landowners solve the environmental problems that the Critical Area Commission and the local municipalities are charged with addressing through enforcement of Critical Area laws.

Shore Land Stewardship Council is working to create a stewardship ethic among Critical Area property owners, so that water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries can improve for generations of families to come.

Members of the Council, including contractors, state and local regulatory agencies, realtors, developers, conservation-oriented nonprofits, and private landowners in the Mid-Shore meet regularly to discuss these best landscaping practices and to identify strategies for communicating them to Critical Area property owners. The first goal of the group is to engage Critical Area landowners, through the organization’s First Stop Campaign.

The First Stop Campaign directs property owners to contact their local planning offices first to determine which permits they need before embarking on any landscaping changes, such as removing trees or altering their shoreline. Targeted Critical Area property owners receive a First Stop pewter blue crab key chain and an information card about the Critical Area. A traveling display is used at fairs and community events throughout the mid-Shore region. A speakers’ bureau provides speakers to a variety of organizations.

SLSC also provides landowners with the knowledge to implement stewardship practices that meet and exceed the requirements of the Critical Area law through a guidebook on how to care for their properties in the Critical Area. The Green Book for the Bay: An Illustrated Guidebook for Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Property Owners Living on Maryland's Eastern Shore is available free of charge through the four County Planning Offices and Adkins Arboretum.

For further information about the Shore Land Stewardship Council -- projects, meetings, or to arrange for a speaker or exhibit at your event -- contact Adkins Arboretum at (410) 634-2847, ext 0, or by email at

View recent updates about the program by visiting our online press room.

View FAQs.

Representatives from the following organizations have contributed their knowledge and expertise to the Shore Land Stewardship Council:

  • Adkins Arboretum
  • Aloft Aerial Photography
  • Bartlett Tree Experts
  • Bay Area Association of Realtors
  • Benson and Mangold Realty
  • Blue Heron Realty
  • Caroline County Planning and Codes
  • Chesapeake Bay Program
  • Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
  • Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
  • Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
  • Eastern Shore Resource Conservation and Development Council
  • Elm Street Development
  • Environmental Concern, Inc.
  • Kent County Department of Planning, Housing, and Zoning
  • Kent Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Mid-Shore Board of Realtors
  • Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education
  • Maryland Coastal Program
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Critical Area Commission
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Restoration Division
  • Maryland Department of Planning
  • Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration
  • Maryland State Department of Education
  • Queen Anne’s County Department of Land Use, Growth Management and Environment
  • Sassafras River Association
  • South Fork Studio Landscape Architecture
  • Talbot County Planning and Zoning
  • Talbot River Protection Association, Creek Watchers
  • Tree Keepers
  • University of Maryland Extension, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Program
  • University of Maryland Extension, Talbot County Master Gardener Program

  Adkins Arboretum

12610 Eveland Road, P.O. Box 100, Ridgely, MD 21660
Phone: 410-634-2847, Fax: 410-634-2878