Many living resources in the Chesapeake Bay estuary have deteriorated over the past 50 years. As a result, many governmental committees, task forces, and management plans have been established. Most of the recommendations for implementing a bay cleanup focus on reducing sediments and nutrient flow into the watershed. We emphasize that habitat requirements other than water quality are necessary for the recovery of much of the bay's avian wildlife, and we use a waterbird example as illustration. Some of these needs are: (1) protection of fast-eroding islands, or creation of new ones by dredge deposition to improve nesting habitat for American black ducks(Anas rubripes), great blue herons(Ardea herodias), and other associated wading birds; (2) conservation of remaining brackish marshes, especially near riparian areas, for feeding black ducks, wading birds, and wood ducks(Aix sponsa); (3) establishment of sanctuaries in open-water, littoral zones to protect feeding and/or roosting areas for diving ducks such as canvasbacks(Aythya valisineria) and redheads(Aythya americana), and for bald eagles(Haliaeetus leucocephalus); and (4) limitation of disturbance by boaters around nesting islands and open-water feeding areas. Land (or water) protection measures for waterbirds need to include units at several different spatial scales, ranging from ?points? (e.g., a colony site) to large-area resources (e.g., a marsh or tributary for feeding). Planning to conserve large areas of both land and water can be achieved following a biosphere reserve model. Existing interagency committees in the Chesapeake Bay Program could be more effective in developing such a model for wildlife and fisheries resources.
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Resource protection for waterbirds in Chesapeake Bay