Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region

 

Flower illustration

Illustration by
Laurie Hewitt

Native plants
may be defined as those species that were present when the first Europeans arrived in the New World. Because they are well adapted to local climate and soil types, native plants require less maintenance such as trimming, watering and fertilizer applications. The most beneficial plants are those species that are native to your particular region or state. This ultimately saves time, labor and money. By planting native plants at home, we can reduce the amount of nutrients and chemicals running off our yards and gardens into local waterways, helping to improve water quality.

Habitat
refers to the food, water, cover and nesting sites all living creatures need to survive. Forests, meadows and wetlands are rapidly being converted to other uses to accommodate the growing number of people. Whether developed for homes or businesses, the result is the same: wildlife habitat is lost. We can help to restore wildlife habitat one backyard at a time. Backyard habitats provide safe havens for animals to live and move among. We can provide food and cover by planting a variety of locally native plants. Nesting boxes and sources of water also provide habitat components critical for wildlife.

Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) is the combination of biological, physical and chemical methods to control pests. IPM offers a variety of choices to manage pests. Many natural and biological controls exist. IPM includes proper identification of pests, using beneficial insects and other animals to get rid of undesirable pests, use of organic pesticides and careful and directed pesticide use. While IPM does not totally eliminate chemical pesticides, it can reduce the volume used on the land. This approach minimizes impacts on wildlife and the Chesapeake Bay.

BayScaping also involves long term planning.
Don't try to change your whole yard all at once. Start small and build over time. Decide what kind of landscape you want in 5, 10 or even 20 years and then work towards these goals. By looking at the big picture, you can design a landscape that meets your needs, expectations, budget and time while incorporating the BayScapes principles. Planning involves four basic steps: inventory existing site conditions; realistically plan uses for different parts of your yard; select plants that are best suited for each use; and determine costs of maintenance.

By BayScaping, you can reduce the time and labor spent maintaining your yard, create wildlife habitat, reduce pollutants that your yard contributes to waterways, and even save money.

Interested in planning your own BayScape?
For more information or to receive a BayScapes Information Packet, contact: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (410) 573-4593; any Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay office; or the Chesapeake Regional Information System (CRIS) at (800) 662-CRIS.

Last updated: July 1, 2013