Keith Oliver Earns Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification

Keith Oliver’s Journey to becoming a Certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional

As a “seasoned” professional with a long list of successful projects, why on Earth would I pursue another credential, much less a voluntary one? This thought ran through my mind more than once as I considered pursuing the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification last fall.

Having started my career in public agencies dealing with flood control, open space and recreation, I learned about stormwater and hydrology on the job and found it to be the type of science I could handle. Moving from the desert Southwest to the Tidewater it was no surprise to be up to my ankles in opportunity to shape water in the landscape. The unexpected challenge was in finding the right network of allied professionals and even land managers that shared my point of view that stormwater should be an asset, and not just something to move off-site and check a regulatory box.

Whether planning for development, civic and institutional infrastructure, landscape conservation or rehabilitation, the dynamics of water in a subsiding coastal environment are incredibly complex. It takes a blend of science and art, big picture visions and microdetail thinking to develop and maintain landscape systems that improve water quality, reduce flooding, support and restore wildlife habitat and ultimately support the recovery and well-being of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional program has created a network of truly diverse practitioners with a common goal of being better environmental stewards. When I realized that, it was any easy decision to commit to more training and an exam.

Going through the program, I brought up my knowledge base in areas that had been peripheral to my core skills. Seeing stormwater practices that I had designed years ago being used as teaching tools, gave me a different perspective and appreciation of how they are successful on different levels to different people. Having gotten certified, in addition to being able to add a few more letters after my name, I can bring a broader expertise to my clients and make a more positive impact to our homes, campuses and communities.

The CBLP program was developed through a collaboration of Wetlands Watch, the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension, and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Habitat Partners and others throughout the 6 state Chesapeake Bay watershed. For more information visit