The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) works with Federal, State, local, and academic science partners to conduct monitoring and research in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, the Nation’s largest estuary, and other critical ecosystems across the country. The USGS interacts through the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) to apply science for restoration and conservation decisions.
Role of the USGS in the Chesapeake Bay Program
The CBP consists of the Federal Government, six states, and the District of Columbia, to make progress toward achieving the goals in the Chesapeake Watershed Agreement (2014-25). The agreement goals range from sustaining fisheries, improving water quality, recovering habitats, conserving healthy watersheds and vital lands, engaging citizens, and addressing climate resiliency.
USGS Chesapeake studies are organized around four science themes:
- Theme 1: Develop an integrated understanding of the factors affecting stream health, fish habitat, and aquatic conditions.
- Theme 2: Assess the risks to coastal habitat and migratory waterbirds.
- Theme 3: Characterize land use to assess the vulnerability and resiliency of habitats and healthy watersheds.
- Theme 4: Integrate science and inform decision making.
USGS Chesapeake studies are supported by multiple Mission Areas (Ecosystems, Water, Core Science Systems, and Hazards), collectively providing $14.85 million, which included a $2 million increase in 2020. USGS worked during the pandemic to expand activities under the science themes and developed protocols for safe-distance sampling, so field work could carry on. Monitoring and projects are carried out by multiple USGS Science Centers.
Theme 1: Factors affecting stream health, fish habitat, and aquatic conditions
- Projecting stream conditions under future land-use and climate scenarios
- New information on chemical and physical characteristics of streams and floodplains across the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River watersheds
- New dataset available on stream and floodplain geometry to inform restoration decisions
- USGS contributes to assessing sediment removal in streams
- Keeping microplastics out of the Bay
- Groups work to stop brook trout from being the fish that got away
- Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- ‘Forever chemicals’ found in Chesapeake region's freshwater fish
- A cocktail of contaminants in Chesapeake waters
- Research examines the health of yellow perch as an indicator of the health of the Chesapeake Bay, urbanization, and even changing weather patterns
- Climate change linked to decline of smallmouth bass in Potomac
- Aquatic invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay drainage
- USGS updates trends for nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- USGS develops tool to further examine nutrient and sediment trends in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- New Synthesis Describes Current Understanding of Factors Driving Nutrient Trends in Streams of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- Record amount of freshwater impacts Bay water quality
- Freshwater flows to Bay highest in 82 years of monitoring
Theme 2: Coastal habitats and water birds
- Type of Wetlands Affect How Much Nitrogen is Removed from the Bay’s Tidal Rivers
- Invasive water plant poised to overwhelm Potomac watershed
- New Crowd Sourcing Will Contribute to Study of Land Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise in the Chesapeake Bay
- USGS Field Crews Document Isaias' Effects Along Atlantic Coast
Theme 3: Watershed vulnerability and resiliency
- Groundwater and the Chesapeake Bay
- Satellite monitoring may help preserve the Chesapeake Bay by improving farming practices
Theme 4: Integrate science and inform decision making
- Coronavirus victims include restoration, monitoring of Bay
- USGS provides plenary and other talks at the Chesapeake Research Symposium
- USGS Contributes to Chesapeake Bay Watershed Data Dashboard
- USGS begins new Chesapeake Bay newsletter
For additional information
The publications for all of these items and additional ones released in FY2020 can be found under Publications.
Scott Phillips, USGS Chesapeake Bay Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org, Office: (443) 498-5552, Cell: (410) 925-8098
Ken Hyer, USGS Chesapeake Bay Associate Coordinator
email@example.com, Office: (804) 261-2636, Cell: (804) 382-7111
Posted October 8, 2020