If you are the owner of a property in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, it has never been more important than NOW to care for your property in a way that protects the Chesapeake Bay watershed from the impact of human activities.

What is the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area?
In 1984, the State of Maryland designated the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, the 1,000-foot wide ribbon of land around the Bay and its tidal tributaries, and set criteria to minimize adverse effects on water quality and natural habitats.

Click here for more information about First Stop for the Bay, or read our FAQs.

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Why protect the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area?
Human activity within 1,000 feet of tidal waters has direct and immediate impact on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Eroded soil, pesticides, and fertilizers that enter the water from the land cause destruction of habitat for crabs, fish and other aquatic life.

Where is my “First Stop” for advice on landscaping my property?
Talk to your County Planning Office. Permits are required for changes to your property if any part of your property is in the Critical Area.
Caroline County 410-479-8100
Kent County 410-778-7473
Queen Anne's County 410-758-1255
Talbot County 410-770-8030

How can I care for my property and protect the Chesapeake Bay?

  • Plant native trees and shrubs
  • Create wildlife habitat
  • Reduce impervious surface
  • Use living shorelines techniques to reduce erosion
  • Minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides
  • Learn more here




Removing dead or dying trees from the Critical Area buffer may be done with a buffer management plan. Contact your County Planning Office for further information.

Critical Area Buffer Protection

Learn about Critical Area buffer regulations adopted by the state of Maryland in March 2010 here.

Free Bay-Wise Consultations Available

Invite University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners to visit your property to consult on "Bay-Wise" landscape management practices. They will help you make sure you are doing what is best to protect your local waterway. Go a step further and have your landscape certified, with a sign that shows everyone you are doing what is best for the Bay. Visit the Bay-Wise web site to learn more about this free service.

The Green Book for the Bay

An illustrated guidebook for Critical Area property owners living on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Learn more!

Learn more about The Green Book with these interviews

  Adkins Arboretum

12610 Eveland Road, P.O. Box 100, Ridgely, MD 21660
Phone: 410-634-2847, Fax: 410-634-2878
E-mail: info@adkinsarboretum.org

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