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USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities

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Projects and Contacts



USGS National Efforts: Wildlife Program

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

CBP—Restoring Habitats Goal Team

Executive Order 13508—Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (see "Recover Habitat" on pages 48–59 and "Sustain Fish and Wildlife" on pages 60–71)

Black Duck Joint Venture


Scoter head

USGS Role in Providing Science to Support Management of Waterfowl and their Habitats

graphic showing the ducks in Bay watershed

The Chesapeake Bay is an integral stopover, wintering, and nesting site for the American black duck, which utilizes inland freshwater and tidal marshes and islands in the Bay region as key habitat. A potential loss of these habitats throughout the region due to sea-level rise and development poses a significant threat to black duck populations. In response to this threat, the Watershed Agreement strategy for protecting and restoring the Bay watershed has established goals to increase populations of black ducks and their supporting wetland habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working to increase habitat across the National Wildlife Refuge System and leading the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Habitat Goal Team to work with partners to improve habitat to increase black duck and other waterfowl populations.

The U.S. Geological Survey has conducted extensive research on black ducks and their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. The USGS is summarizing results from these studies and is beginning new efforts to support the FWS and the Black Duck Joint Venture to restore black ducks and their supporting habitats. Some planned USGS activities for black ducks include:

Bird graphicIn addition to black ducks, the community of waterbirds that nest on Chesapeake Bay islands is in jeopardy due to rising sea levels and erosion of many small estuarine islands in the Bay. Knowing the rates of sea-level rise and the rates of island erosion are important for projecting habitat and shoreline changes in the Bay region. This knowledge is important for natural resource managers as well as coastal planners and Bay residents to help address these Executive Order actions:

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