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USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities

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Estimated Monthly Streamflow entering the Bay

Streamflow and groundwater quantity and quality data for individual States and sites in the Bay watershed are also available online from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS).

National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP)

Chesapeake Bay Watershed and link to information on the poster
Partner Information

Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Information on rivers and streams

CBP information on groundwater

USGS Role in Water Quality: Streamflow and Groundwater

Photo bridge Pautexnet river

Within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are about 100,000 miles of streams. These streams provide important habitat for fish and wildlife and provide recreational venues for many of the 17 million people in the watershed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bay partners are working to improve the water-quality in streams throughout the watershed. The Watershed Agreement has an outcome to improve the health of streams so that 70 percent of streams rate fair, good, or excellent by 2025.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Federal, State, and local partners, measures streamflow in large rivers to small creeks throughout the Bay watershed. The USGS uses the streamflow measurements from major rivers to compute the amount of water entering the Bay each month. The Estimated Monthly Streamflow page provides a summary of the amount of streamflow entering the Bay each month and by year. The flow to the Bay is used to help explain changes in the salinity, dissolved oxygen, and water clarity in the Bay, all of which affect fish, crab, and oyster populations. The current streamflow conditions in the Mid-Atlantic area are available from the USGS "WaterWatch" site

The streamflow data are used to:

Groundwater is a major contributor to the streamflow that enters streams that drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The USGS findings on groundwater and its relation to water-quality conditions include:

Resource managers are using implications of the "lag time" between implementation of management practices and improvement in water quality in the Bay to help implement the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and improve stream quality.

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