The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is a regional partnership consisting of federal, state and local governments, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. Primarily funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the CBP sets the guidance and policy for restoring the Chesapeake Bay. The CBP Communications Office is staffed by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay through a six-year cooperative agreement and is seeking proposals from qualified firms to assist with identifying communications needs to increase tree canopy and forest buffers across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The CBP is governed by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which contains ten goals and 31 outcomes, which include Forest Buffers and Tree Canopy.

Forest Buffers: Continually increase the capacity of forest buffers to provide water quality and habitat benefits throughout the watershed. Restore 900 miles per year of riparian forest buffer and conserve existing buffers until at least 70% of riparian areas throughout the watershed are forested.

Tree Canopy: Continually increase urban tree canopy capacity to provide air quality, water quality and habitat benefits throughout the watershed. Expand urban tree canopy by 2,400 acres by 2025. Forestry across the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a complex issue. The CBP relies on many partners to plant and maintain trees, including private landowners, state governments, local governments and community associations. Several programs currently exist—through all levels of government, academia, businesses and non-profits—that fund tree plantings across a variety of landscapes from rural to ultraurban. Despite the popularity and priority of these programs across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the forest buffers and tree canopy outcomes continue to lag.

Although multiple factors contribute to the challenges in meeting the forest buffer and tree canopy goals, developing effective communications and outreach materials are one strategy that can help increase progress. Several communications and traditional marketing campaigns have been put into place over the past few years to encourage tree plantings and maintenance across the watershed. These campaigns were targeted to reach several different audiences across various sectors and landscapes.

The Alliance is seeking an experienced contractor with knowledge of communications, outreach and behavior change, strong research and facilitation skills and an understanding of forestry issues, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to complete the following activities.