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USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities

Mission Areas, Programs, Science Centers

USGS Mission Areas

The collaboration with USGS Programs and Mission Areas provides the resources for USGS Chesapeake Bay studies. USGS Chesapeake Bay studies interact with multiple USGS Programs where there is mutual benefit for the programs to meet their respective missions through funding projects that also meet the goals of Chesapeake Bay studies. USGS National Programs fund both Bay-specific projects and national/regional projects where some of the activities are carried out within the Bay watershed and can help address the Watershed Agreement goals. Below is a summary of collaboration between USGS Mission Areas, Programs, and Chesapeake Bay studies.

Ecosystem Mission Area

USGS getting samples in the bay

Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Environments (TFME) Program.—This program focuses on understanding the factors that control ecosystem structure, function, conditions, and provision of goods and services. Information from ecosystem research guides the design and evaluation of scientifically based strategies to manage and restore ecosystems and landscapes. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the goals of this program are met by addressing the factors affecting the conditions of major aspects of the Bay ecosystem—fish, wildlife, habitats, and water quality—and using an adaptive management approach to target, monitor, and evaluate strategies for conservation and restoration.

Priority Ecosystem Science (PES) is part of the TFME Program.—This activity coordinates USGS efforts to provide science for management and restoration of priority ecosystems in the Nation. The PES funds are focused on Chesapeake Bay-specific projects to address the needs of the Chesapeake Bay Program partners and are used to co-fund projects with other USGS National Programs.

Fisheries: Aquatic and Endangered Resources Program (FAER).—The FAER Program focuses on the study of aquatic organisms and aquatic habitat from the molecular genetics level to species and population interactions with the environment. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the FAER mission is met by focusing on several research areas, including identifying the factors (disease, contaminants, and change of habitat) that affect the health of fish populations in the Bay watershed and the study of brook trout and their associated habitat.

Wildlife: Terrestrial and Endangered Species Program.—This program supports research on diverse natural resource topics involving wildlife and their habitats, marine mammals, threatened and endangered species, and pollinators and plants. The mission of the program is met by research on factors affecting the decline, and potential approaches for restoration of selected migratory bird populations, including black ducks and their habitats.

Cooperative Research Units (CRU) Program.—The CRU Program was established to enhance graduate education in fisheries and wildlife sciences and to facilitate research between natural resource managers and universities on topics of mutual concern. The mission of the CRU is met through studies of brook trout and other key fish and wildlife species in the Bay watershed.

Climate and Land-Use Change Mission Area

small collage of bay images

Land Change Science Program.—The mission of this program is to understand the patterns, processes, and consequences of changes in land use, land condition, and land cover at multiple spatial and temporal scales, resulting from the interactions between human activities and natural systems. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the program mission is met by research to understand and forecast the impact of human activities on the land surface, including the impact on water quality and habitat in the Bay watershed, and development and enhancement of land-change forecasting models and decision-support tools for resource managers.

Land Remote Sensing (LRS) Program.—The LRS Program operates the Landsat satellites and provides the Nation's portal to the largest archive of remotely sensed land data in the world, supplying access to current and historical images. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the goal of this program is met by providing land-cover characterization and change information for the Bay watershed.

Global Change Research Program.—This program supports fundamental scientific research to (1) understand processes controlling Earth system responses to global change over broad temporal and spatial scales, and (2) understand and model impacts of climate and land-cover change on ecosystems and other natural resources. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the mission of the program is met through research on the effects of climate variability on sea-level rise and estuarine habitats in the Bay.

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) climate centers are being established to provide integrated climate models and research. USGS Chesapeake Bay studies will explore collaboration with proposed climate centers in the northeastern United States to address common topics in the Bay watershed.

Water Mission Area

USGS works in the bay

Cooperative Water Program.—The mission of the Cooperative Water Program is to provide reliable, impartial, and timely information needed to understand the Nation's water resources through a program of shared efforts and funding. The program has several high-priority issues that match issues in the Chesapeake Bay (water quality, data networks, water availability and use, wetlands and estuaries, and water resources in coastal zones). Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the program mission is met through enhanced surface-water monitoring, analysis, and modeling to document the occurrence, transport, and trends of sediment and nutrients in the streams of the Bay watershed and their delivery to the estuary.

Hydrologic Networks and Analysis (HNA) Program.—The HNA Program provides for the collection and analysis of hydrologic data to support needs of the Nation. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the HNA mission is met through collection, analysis, and research of streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality information.

National Research Program (NRP) in the Hydrologic Sciences.—The mission of the NRP includes the development of new information, theories, and techniques to understand, anticipate, and solve water-resource problems facing managers of Federal lands and the Nation. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the NRP mission is met through research of the sources, fate, and transport of sediment and nutrients in selected watersheds and development and application of integrating groundwater and surface-water models.

National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program.—The goal of the NAWQA Program is to develop long-term, consistent, and comparable information on streams, groundwater, and aquatic ecosystems to support sound management and policy decisions. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the goal of the Cycle 3 of the program mission is met by applying regional SPARROW models to the Bay watershed, monitoring and understanding the factors affecting nutrients and sediment in major settings, and forecasting potential change(s) in water-quality conditions within the Bay watershed. The Program goals will also be addressed through the development of methods to backcast land-use conditions to better characterize historical changes in nutrients and sediment.

National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP).—The goal of NSIP is to monitor streamflow and the delivery of streamflow information. USGS Chesapeake Bay studies are collaborating with NSIP by maintaining streamflow measurements at sites that are part of the Chesapeake Bay Program nontidal water-quality network.

Energy and Minerals, and Environmental Health Mission Area

Contaminants Biology Program.—This program investigates the effects of and exposure to environmental contaminants on the Nation's living resources, particularly those under the stewardship of the DOI. In collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the goal of the program is being addressed through study of the potential role of emerging contaminants and endocrine-disrupting compounds affecting the reproductive system of fish in the Bay watershed and birds in the watershed. (Energy and Minerals, and Environmental Health)

Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program.—The Toxics Program provides objective scientific information to improve characterization and management of contaminated sites, to protect human health, and to reduce potential future contamination problems. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the goal of the program is met through study of the occurrence and fate of emerging contaminants that are impacting the reproductive systems of fish and birds.

Hazards Mission Area

Coastal and Marine Geology (C&M) Program.—The C&M Program conducts research on changes in the coastal and marine environment, whether naturally occurring or human-induced. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the C&M Program mission is being met by studying the impacts of direct groundwater delivery of nutrients to the estuarine waters of the Bay.

Core Science Systems Mission Area

National Geospatial Program (NGP).—The NGP organizes, maintains, and publishes the geospatial baseline of the Nation's topography, natural landscape, and built environment. The baseline is The National Map, a set of databases of map data and information from which customers can download data and derived map products and use Web-based map services. Through collaboration with USGS Chesapeake Bay studies, the mission of NGP is being achieved through improved management of core information and by improving data-sharing agreements between Federal, State, and local partners involved with the Chesapeake Bay Program.

USGS Science Centers

Biology Centers

Leetown Science Center, Leetown, WV
Patuxent Wildlife Center, Laurel, MD

Geography Centers

Eastern Geographic Science Center, Reston, VA

Geology Centers

Earth Surfaces Processes Team, Reston, VA,
Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, St Petersburg, FL,
Woods Hole Science Center for Marine and Coastal Geology

Geographic Information Office Centers

National Geospatial Programs Office

Water Centers

Eastern Region Hydrologic Research
Maryland-DC-Delaware Water Science Center
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Virginia Water Science Center
West Virginia Water Science Center


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