For the Bay

What is the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area?

Chesapeake Bay Critical Area is the 1,000-foot wide ribbon of land around the Bay and its tidal tributaries that is designated by the state for special protection to minimize adverse effects on water quality and natural habitats.

Who should use this book?

The Green Book for the Bay is aimed at those who own, live and work on residential properties in the Critical Area in the mid-Shore counties of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. However, the landscaping practices described in this book are applicable for all who are interested in protecting water quality and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with Bay-friendly landscape management.

What does The Green Book for the Bay include?

  • Introduction to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area
  • Rules, Regulations, and Guidance
  • 13 Frequently Asked Questions
  • Top 10 Practices for Critical Area Properties
  • Important Terms
  • Resources

Copies are available from Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties’ planning offices. Contact information for the county planning offices is here. 

To receive a copy by mail, send your name, email address, mailing address, and $5 for shipping and handling to: The Green Book for the Bay, Adkins Arboretum, P.O. Box 100, Ridgely, MD 21660.

For further information, contact Adkins Arboretum at
(410) 634-2847, ext 0, or by email at

We gratefully acknowledge the grantors for The Green Book for the Bay:

"FIRST STOP FOR THE BAY" is sponsored by the Shore Land Stewardship Council, an initiative of Adkins Arboretum, providing professionals and private property owners accurate and consistent information, technical support, and proper referrals on best landscaping management practices in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, with a special focus on the middle Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Below you will see the changes to The Green Book for the Bay since publication in December 2008. Online files reflect these changes. Update your print copy of The Green Book for the Bay with the following revisions:

Page 63 - Revise definition
Native plants -- Plants that have evolved in a region since the last Ice Age without direct or indirect human actions. These species are adapted to local soils, climate, and hydrologic conditions.

Page 64 -- Revise name and address (phone and web site the same)
Talbot County Office of Planning and Zoning
215 Bay St., Ste. 2
Easton, MD 21601

Page 66-- Revise description
Adkins Arboretum -- 400-acre native garden and preserve; adult and children's programs; native plant sales, gift shop, art exhibits.

Page 67-- Revise description
Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage -- Assists private and public landowners in design, building and management of wildlife habitat projects

Page 67-- Revise description
Environmental Concern -- Living shoreline design and installation, wholesale nursery catalog, native wetland plants

Page 68-- Watershed association, formerly
Choptank River Eastern Bay Conservancy (CREB), name changed to
Mid-Shore Riverkeeper Conservancy
23 N. Harrison St.
Easton, MD 21601
(443) 385-0511

Peter Heck reviews The Green Book for the Bay

  Adkins Arboretum

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