Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is one of the most important and productive estuarine systems in the world, providing economic and social benefits to the citizens of the town and the commonwealth. State Code § 62.1-44.15:67 directed localities to establish programs that define and protect certain lands, called Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas, which if improperly developed may result in substantial damage to the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, establishes regulations and criteria for use by the town in granting, denying or modifying requests to rezone, subdivide, or to use and develop land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas.  

As part of the regulation, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) Ordinance establishes two designations of areas which should be preserved.  The first is the “Resource Protection Area”, and the second is the “Resource Management Area”.

Both CBPA designations include a mass of protected areas around perennial water bodies that could compromise the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Within the CBPA Ordinance, there are extensive provisions regarding what type of development is permitted within the CBPA areas and regulations for how the impacts of permitted development must be mitigated.

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map shows the general location of CBPAs and should be consulted by persons contemplating activities within the town prior to engaging in a regulated activity. 

UPDATE to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map, 2023

The Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) provided the Town of Ashland with a grant to update and revise its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) Map.

Stantec was contracted to assist the Town of Ashland with the project, the scope of which included developing updated CBPA GIS map overlays and digital datasets using off-site publicly available mapping (soils, wetlands, USGS streams, floodplains, slopes, and other environmental constraints).  The deliverables include overlays, digital layers used, initial mapping for RPA/RMA extents, associated metadata, and a brief memorandum.  

As a result of Stantec's findings, the Town of Ashland is updating the CBPA Map, which demonstrates the approximately locations of RMAs and RPAs within the Town.  A public hearing for the CBPA Map update is being held, as the map is associated with the adopted Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance. All proposed changes will affect areas of the adopted map only. There are no proposed changes to the CBPA ordinance language. Ordinance 2023-10 is proposed for the official CBPA map replacement due to the updated data. The public hearing is expected to be held August 15th, 2023.

The existing CBPA map, which is currently in effect, can be viewed here: Current CBPA Map
The Ordinance 2023-10, Update to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map, can be viewed here: Draft ORD2023-10
The proposed CBPA map can be viewed here: Proposed CBPA Map

Deliverables from this project also include a full report and a presentation, which can be viewed to provide clarity on Stantec's methodologies and determinations:

Ashland Phase 2 CBIG Report
CBPA Mapping Presentation

Any questions regarding the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) or the corresponding ordinance update may be directed to Principal Planner, Keri Ragland, at

2019 TMDL Action Plan

TMDL is defined as the total maximum daily load of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. The Town of Ashland's 2019 Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan for the second permit cycle is available for viewing or/and downloading here: 2019 TMDL Action Plan

You may send any comments regarding the Action Plan to our Civil Engineer, Tom Dickerson, at