|COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION CASE STUDY|
|Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Bay Commission|
|Tracking Nutrients and Sediment to Target Restoration Activities |
|Project Summary: The Chesapeake Bay Program is a multi-state, multi-agency effort to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay through sound land-use decisions.|
|USGS scientist collecting water quality samples to help partners assess the effectiveness of restoration actions
Resource ChallengeThe Chesapeake Bay, the Nation’s largest estuary, suffers from water quality problems, loss of habitat, and over-harvesting of natural resources. The Bay is listed under the Federal Clean Water Act as an “impaired water body” because of excess nutrients and sediment. Because of this listing, the Bay’s water quality must be improved by 2010. To respond to the problem, the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP), a Federal-State partnership, completed the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, establishing restoration goals for the Bay and its watershed for the next ten years. Their goals focus on making sound land use decisions to improve water quality, protect vital habitat, and support healthy populations of plants and animals in the Bay and its watershed. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an original CBP Federal partner, is providing scientiﬁc information to help the Partnership formulate, implement, and assess the effectiveness of their restoration goals.
Examples of Key PartnersU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Farm Services Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, USDI National Park Service, Department of Defense, States of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Chesapeake Bay Commission, universities, and non-government organizations
Results and Accomplishments
The CBP has established a unique approach to developing and achieving water quality restoration goals. USGS studies show how nutrients and sediment through the watershed; almost half of the nutrients move slowly through the ground water. This phenomenon causes a lag between the time some nutrient reduction practices are implemented and the time when improvements in water quality become apparent. The CBP used the ﬁndings to accelerate sewage treatment plant improvements and to better target agricultural practices to reduce nitrogen. Partners are also using USGS data to target restoration activities to the speciﬁc locations where they will be most effective.
CBP is establishing a water quality monitoring network in the Bay watershed to document improvements as nutrient reduction strategies are implemented. The network design was led by the USGS and is being implemented by ten Federal and state partners. Results will help CBP track water quality changes watershed-wide and determine if new practices need to be adopted.