Precision Conservation

Precision conservation—projects at the right place, the right scale, the right size, the right time, and making sure they are working—is going to redefine how landscape conservation is approached. Instead of sweeping acquisitions or all-encompassing legislation, we can use the latest high-resolution datasets to conduct advanced geospatial analysis that allows us to better target and implement on-the-ground a...

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sag_logo_2015As priorities change, new markets emerge, and federal and state land conservation funding diminishes, it will be imperative to improve our ability to target high-functioning landscapes and coordinate potential funding sources interested in the multitude of benefits and ecosystem services land conservation provides.

Chesapeake Conservancy has made a conscious effort to create new opportunities to advance our mission by identifying and implementing new ways of doing things. Since 2012, the Conservancy has advanced the use of emerging technologies and freely available high-resolution aerial imagery and elevation data to develop new datasets that are increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of conservation and restoration practices throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


Learn more about the Conservation Innovation Center and our most recent work, explore the fact sheets below.


Precision Conservation

Applying advanced spatial analysis techniques to prioritize agricultural and conservation best management practices that provide ecosystem services and have the greatest impact on a landscape


Multi-Resource Conservation Planning

Helping communities and local partners identify common goals with user-friendly web applications that incorporate multiple conservation priorities


Vacant Lots to Green Spaces

Working with the City of Baltimore to determine how over 17,000 vacant lots could be transformed into useable green space using a powerful query tool and suitability analysis


Planning Support and Capacity Building

Providing local conservation organizations with GIS data, services, and training to encourage efficient, cost-effective, and strategic outreach and project implementation


High Resolution Land Cover Mapping

Leveraging aerial imagery, LiDAR elevation data, and advanced classification techniques to produce 1-meter resolution land cover maps that help to prioritize conservation and restoration opportunities


Viewshed Protection and Impact Analyses

Mapping the visible landscape to understand the impacts of and guide strategic development that maintains the beauty of special vistas


Park Walkability Web Application

Providing urban communities with web-accessible information about parks and other public open spaces in and around their neighborhoods

Originally developed to identify high priority conservation areas along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, these techniques and datasets have numerous potential applications for many other land use decision-making and planning purposes. The Conservancy is now working to develop online decision support tools that make these datasets, as well as complex analyses using them, available to partner organizations without any barriers to entry, such as needing internal GIS experience or staff.

There are many paths to advance conservation interests here in the Chesapeake Bay Region, from protecting critical habitats and areas of cultural importance to focusing on the land’s impact on water quality.  Coordinated efforts by the Bay State signatories have been underway for years to restore the Chesapeake Bay using a combination of incentive-based and voluntary water quality best management practices, including the conservation of over 1.24 million acres between 2000 and 2009.

Achieving coordinated large landscape conservation as the prospects for public funding for land conservation diminish across the region will require innovative solutions that maintain an effective, well rounded Bay protection and restoration platform that incorporates the multitude of benefits land conservation provides.

To accomplish this objective, the Chesapeake Conservancy has established the Conservation Innovation Center to develop new partnerships, products, and processes that will allow us to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness with which we target land and access areas for conservation.  We are creating partnerships with Colleges and Universities throughout the watershed to leverage cutting edge-research and facilities for our work.  We are researching and advancing new methods of identifying high-priority landscapes throughout the watershed that provide the best opportunities for conservation and restoration.  We are using new technology and mobile platforms to teach watershed residents and visitors about the landscapes around them while engaging them in our conservation efforts.  By looking at how other industries are using innovative methods to advance their respective fields, Chesapeake Conservancy is able to adapt the most promising tools and techniques to advance the our mission and the conservation movement as a whole.