New Findings on Toxic Contaminants in the Chesapeake Watershed

Science Center Objects


The Chesapeake Bay Program has a goal to reduce the impacts of toxic contaminants on living resources in the Bay and its watershed. USGS leads the toxic contaminant outcome on research to increase our understanding of the impacts and mitigation options for toxic contaminants.

USGS studies:

The USGS has studies of toxic contaminants, including mercury, PCBs, pesticides, and emerging compound of concern, to address the CBP research outcome. The studies identify the occurrence of these compounds and their potential effects on fish health.


Recent publications:

The USGS has recently released several publications on toxic contaminants in the Chesapeake watershed, which include:

Mercury bioaccumulation in freshwater fishes of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by James J. Willacker, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, and Vicki S. Blazer 
Total Mercury Concentrations in Smallmouth Bass from Chesapeake Bay Tributaries, USA Dataset, 2013-2017 by James J. Willacker, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, and Vicki S. Blazer
Contact Collin Eagles-Smith ( for more information.

Spatiotemporal variation in occurrence and co-occurrence of pesticides, hormones, and other organic contaminants in rivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by Catherine M. McClure, Kelly L. Smalling, Vicki S. Blazer, Adam J. Sperry, Megan K. Schall, Dana W. Kolpin, Patrick J. Phillips, Michelle L. Hladik, and Tyler Wagner
Kelly Smalling ( for more information.

The USGS also led a STAC workshop, and partnered on the associated report:

Integrating Science and Developing Approaches to Inform Management for Contaminants of Concern in Agricultural and Urban Settings by Majcher, E., Smalling, K., Blaney L, Harvey, A., Phillips, S, L., Blazer, V., ,Pickney, A., Brosch, C, and Allen, G.
Contact Scott Phillips ( or Emily Majcher ( for more information.


Management Implications:

The results are used by jurisdictions as they consider ways to reduce the impacts of toxic contaminants, and the potential co-benefits with nutrient and sediment reduction practices. 



« Return to Chesapeake Bay Activities — Home
« Return to Features, Science Summaries, Videos