Forest Stewardship Plan
Preserving the Bay Ridge Forest
Among BRCA’s responsibilities required by the conservation easements was development of a Forest Stewardship Plan, which must be updated every ten years. BRCA contracted with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Service to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan for our community and this plan was produced in 2004. The document spelled out the actions needed to maintain the forest, protect wildlife habitat and water quality, and to improve the vegetative community, including efforts to control non-native species and re-introduce native species. In addition, a 100-foot buffer to the water with special requirements and care was required. (Link to 2004 plan in website archives)
The 2014 Forest Stewardship Plan was completed ahead of time, in the fall of 2013. As with the 2004 plan, the overall goal of the 2013 plan is the long-term health and sustainability of the forest. This most recent document divides the Bay Ridge Wood into three tree stands and notes that all of the forested areas lie within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. The plan recognizes that progress has been made on removal of invasive species, but states that more work is needed. This plan contains a wealth of information on wildlife management practices, timber stand improvement, forest buffer management, and conservation of Forest Interior Dwelling Birds (FIDS).
BRCA Forest Management Committee (FMC)
To facilitate adherence to the principals of the conservation easement and to promote restoration of the Bay Ridge Woods as a healthy coastal plains forest, the BRCA Board established the Forest Management Committee in late 2004. With the Forest Stewardship Plan as their guide, BRCA Board and FMC developed a committee charter that prioritizes the list of actions that the committee should pursue. This list is a work in progress as the committee refines its tasks. The FMC recognizes the value of a healthy coastal plain forest. Healthy trees filter pollutants in the air and on the ground. The pervious forest floor improves the quality of the surrounding waterways and recharges the aquifers. FMC’s immediate priority is control of invasive vegetation, primarily vines and alien trees, that choke out and kill the more desirable native vegetation. Invasive species are attacked in two ways:
- By community residents during FMC volunteer days
- By hired contractors funded through the BRCA budget and by private contributions for this purpose.
The FMC encourages every Bay Ridge resident to come out and work in the woods. Only through close association with the majesty of the woodlands and first-hand observation of the problems we face in its restoration can the depths of our treasure and our challenge be fully understood.
To see when the next FMC volunteer day is, visit our Events calendar.