The Chesapeake Bay is the Nation's largest estuary and historically supported one of the most productive fisheries in the world. In addition to supporting aquatic communities and wildlife, the bay's watershed serves the economic and recreational needs of 15 million people. The fertile soils of the watershed support significant agricultural production. Unfortunately, the commercial, economic, and recreational value of the bay and its watershed has been degraded by poor water quality, loss of habitat, and overharvesting of living resources. Since the early 1980's, the Chesapeake Bay Program, which is a partnership among Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the Federal Government, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, has been formulating and implementing restoration goals to restore living resources, minimize habitat loss, and reduce the amount of nutrients, sediment, and toxic substances entering the bay. The U.S. Geological Survey has the critical role of providing unbiased scientific information to be used in helping to formulate, implement, and assess the effectiveness of restoration goals in the bay and its watershed.