USGS - science for a changing world

USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities


The USGS collaborates with Federal, State, and Local governments, non-governmental agencies, and academic partners. Listed are some of our primary partners and descriptions of current or potential future partnerships for each of our science themes.
Federal Academic State


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USGS Science Theme Partnerships
The Impact of Human Activities on Land Use

The USGS will continue to work directly with the CBP on this science theme by having a USGS employee serve as the Land Data Manager. The Land Data Manager has membership on the CBP Land Growth and Stewardship and Modeling Subcommittees and has been active in preparing the CBP RLA to better target critical lands for preservation. The USGS will increase interaction with USFWS and the NPS to apply the findings to help conserve habitats and lands supporting DOI resources. USGS will help support the development and improvement of land-use projection models by the Maryland Office of Planning and the Woods Hole Research Center. Additionally, there is potential for increased interaction with USEPA Region III and the USEPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) staff conducting the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA) to use results to develop improved tools to document the impact of human activities on land use and implication for improving water quality. Finally, enhanced partnerships will be explored with the Global Integrated Trends Network and the Multi-Resolution Land Consortium (MRLC) to provide land-cover information. State partners throughout the watershed have an interest in improving monitoring data of land-use change and academic partners, such as the University of Maryland, are potential collaborators for future research on the factors affecting land-use change.


Factors Affecting Water Quality and Quantity

The USGS will continue to coordinate with the CBP on this science theme by having a USGS employee serve as the CBP Monitoring Coordinator, having membership on the Nutrient, Modeling, and Monitoring and Analysis Subcommittees, and the appropriate workgroups. The USGS will continue to have active membership on the CBP Monitoring and Assessment Subcommittee (MASC) and associated workgroups that are integrating the factors affecting both nontidal and estuary water quality. The USGS will work with the CBP to consider improvements to water-quality models of the RLA to improve targeting of conservation and restoration activities to improve water quality. Additional interaction is planned with the USEPA MAIA and ORD efforts to explain the factors affecting water quality for assessing the effectiveness of restoration activities.

Interaction with DOI Bureaus and other Federal partners will be carried out to help the USFWS conserve and restore the health of stream corridors and wetlands, and with the NPS to improve watershed planning. Enhanced interaction will be explored with the U.S. Department of Agriculture including U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Cooperative State Research, Education, Extension Service (CSREES) to improve nutrient and sediment source information and use USGS water-quality findings to help guide water-quality management activities. The USGS will examine opportunities to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to better integrate monitoring and assessment in the watershed and estuary, and to address recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, such as including the Chesapeake Bay as part of the IOOS. The USGS will further explore interaction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE) and NOAA to address sediment impacting the Bay and its watershed through development of a regional sediment management plan.

Partnerships with State agencies include continuing monitoring efforts for nutrients and sediment in nontidal rivers with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ) at River-Input Monitoring sites, and enhanced interaction with other State agencies to implement the nontidal monitoring water-quality network. Continued improvement of the CBP watershed model will be done in cooperation with the CBP modeling team, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The USGS will continue its relationship with MD DNR, VA DEQ, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), which collects water-quality data at SAV sites in the Potomac, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) to address the relation of watershed impacts on near-shore water quality and SAV.

Additional efforts to improve partnerships with academic institutions will include exploring development of additional models with the Community Modeling Project, which is being overseen by the Chesapeake Research Consortium. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Penn State University, and VIMS are potential academic partners to address development of water-quality indicators through the Atlantic Slope Consortium. Interaction with academic partners could also occur with other universities in the watershed if the Potomac or Susquehanna areas are selected for study by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Incorporated (CUAHSI).


Ability of Habitat to Support Fish and Bird Populations

The habitat associated with stream corridors and their link to the estuary is being studied by many Federal, State, and academic institutions. The USGS will build upon existing relationships, and form new, collaborative partnerships to address these issues. The USGS will increase membership on the Living Resources Subcommittee of the CBP and associated workgroups that are addressing both nontidal and near-shore habitats. The USGS will work closely with the USFWS to better integrate science findings with their efforts to achieve a comprehensive approach to watershed restoration and investigations on fish health. The USFWS CBFO has established the Comprehensive Habitat Assessment and Restoration Team (CHART) to help achieve this approach. The USGS will also address the water-quality and habitat function in the drainage area of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is threatened by changing land use near its property and loss of wetlands due to sea-level rise and changes in hydrologic patterns, and is planning a large multi-agency restoration effort. The USGS will continue partnerships with the USCOE to address the use of dredge spoil to restore wetlands including Poplar Island and determine whether similar potential exists at Blackwater Refuge. The USGS will also improve collaboration with NOAA to use information on habitat assessment and function to improve restoration activities and include findings on fish health for ecosystem management of fisheries. The USGS will work with States in the Potomac River Basin and ICPRB to better define the factors affecting the health of fisheries in streams. The USGS will work with academic partners, including SERC, to better assess the role of habitat to support fish and bird populations and provide water-quality benefit.


Synthesis and Forecasting to Improve Ecosystem Assessment, Conservation, and Restoration

The USGS will work with the CBP partners, under the MASC, to improve environmental indicators to assess the current conditions and progress in restoring the Bay and its watershed. The USGS will enhance interaction with the CBP Communications Office to deliver information through their revised communication strategy and methods. The USGS will also enhance partnership with the IAN at the UMCES to improve conceptual models and indictors for the Bay and its watershed.

The USGS will continue to increase interaction with the policy makers and resource managers of the CBP and DOI (USFWS and NPS) to provide science to meet CBP “keystone commitments” and to conserve and restore DOI lands and trust resources. The USGS will increase interaction with the CBP to enhance the models in the RLA so they can be used for targeting both conservation and restoration activities in the watershed. The USGS will enhance interaction with the NPS to communicate findings through the “Chesapeake Gateways Network.” Enhanced interaction will be explored with the USDA including USFS, ARS, NRCS, and CSREES to improve communication of sediment and nutrient results to help guide water-quality management activities and with NOAA to communicate the results.


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