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Effects of climate variability and human activities on Chesapeake Bay and the implications for ecosystem restoration

Fact Sheet 116-00

By:
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Abstract

Chesapeake Bay, the Nation’s largest and most productive estuary (fig. 1), faces complex environmental issues related to nutrients and oxygen, turbidity and sedimentation, toxic dinoflagellates, sea-level rise, and coastal erosion. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is a partnership among the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Federal Government, the District of Columbia, and the States of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The CBP is working to preserve, restore, and protect the bay’s living resources, vital habitats, and water quality, to protect human health, and to promote sound land-use policies in the watershed. The CBP began to set restoration goals for the ecosystem in the mid-1980’s and is now refining current goals and setting new ones as part of a new bay agreement— Chesapeake 2000. As the CBP sets restoration goals for the next 10–20 years, it will be critical to understand the long-term changes of the bay ecosystem due to climate variability and the influence of past and future human activities.

For the past 4 years, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been engaged in research designed to provide objective scientific answers to questions about long-term changes in the bay ecosystem:

  • What paleoecological and geochemical methods are best for documenting trends in the bay ecosystem?
  • How does climate variability, including drought, affect the bay?
  • What are historical trends in dissolved oxygen?
  • What is the relationship between sedimentation and water clarity, and what is the effect of turbidity on living resources?
  • How have past land-use changes affected bay habitats and living resources?

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of climate variability and human activities on Chesapeake Bay and the implications for ecosystem restoration
Series title:
Fact Sheet
Series number:
116-00
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
6 p.
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Chesapeake Bay Watershed