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Possibilities, Problems, and Promise. Chesapeake Bay Program. Presented by: Elizabeth Mills, Heather Plumridge, Elizabeth Repko. Introduction to the Bay. Largest and most productive estuary in the U.S. Provides ideal habitat for plant and animal species

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Chesapeake bay program

Possibilities, Problems, and Promise

Chesapeake Bay Program

Presented by: Elizabeth Mills, Heather Plumridge, Elizabeth Repko


Introduction to the bay
Introduction to the Bay

  • Largest and most productive estuary in the U.S.

  • Provides ideal habitat for plant and animal species

  • Economic, recreational, and scenic benefits


Threat 1 excess nutrients
Threat #1: Excess Nutrients

  • Main culprits: phosphorus and nitrogen

  • Cause algal blooms and decrease in submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV)


Threat 2 excess sedimentation
Threat #2: Excess Sedimentation

  • Major cause: soil erosion due to loss of wetlands and forests

  • This reduces water clarity and health of bay grass beds and oyster reefs


Threat 3 toxic chemicals
Threat #3: Toxic Chemicals

  • Point sources: industries and waste water treatment plants

  • NPS: urban run off, pesticides, and air pollution


Threat 4 habitat loss
Threat #4: Habitat Loss

  • Decline of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs)

  • Loss of habitat, such as forest and wetlands


Threat 5 overharvesting
Threat #5: Overharvesting

  • Decline in the blue crab population, an important commercial fishery

  • Decline in native oyster populations which filter water contaminants.


Threat 6 invasive species
Threat #6: Invasive Species

  • Major culprits: nutria, mute swans, and rapa whelks

  • Displace native species and degrade the ecosystem


The chesapeake bay program
The Chesapeake Bay Program

  • Late 1970s: First estuary targeted by federal lawmakers for restoration and protection

  • Chesapeake Bay Program officially started in 1983, targets living resource protection


Executive council structure
Executive Council Structure

  • Voluntary program, supported by federal and state funding

  • Strict consensus model: 100% buy-in or no programs

  • Goals for Bay set in agreements: 1983, 1987, 2000


Year 2000 goals
Year 2000 Goals

  • Goal #1: Living Resource Protection and Restoration

  • Goal #2: Vital Habitat Protection and Restoration


Year 2000 goals1
Year 2000 Goals

  • Goal #3: Sound Land Use

  • Goal #4: Stewardship and Community Engagement


Year 2000 goals2
Year 2000 Goals

  • Goal #5: Water Quality Protection and Restoration

    • Achieve the 40% nutrient reduction goal agreed to in 1987

    • Establish “no discharge zones” in the bay


Evaluation of cbp
Evaluation of CBP

  • Integrated ecosystem approach

  • Main problems

  • Humans embedded in Chesapeake Bay


Extensive data collection and adaptation
Extensive Data Collection and Adaptation

  • Data collection by academic institutional partners

  • Adaptation to scientific findings (ex. University of Maryland study)



Challenges ecosystem boundaries
Challenges: Ecosystem Boundaries

  • Political boundaries rather than ecological

  • Management plan and finances determined by states


Challenges interagency cooperation
Challenges: Interagency Cooperation

  • Different organizational structures and cultures

  • Conflicting objectives at times

  • Lowest common denominator


Opportunities human reliance on the bay
Opportunities: Human Reliance on the Bay

  • 15.1 million people live, work, and play in the Bay

  • Highly valued human resource

  • Widespread acceptance of the Program by public and political entities


Conclusion future of the bay
Conclusion: Future of the Bay

  • Rising population density poses a major future threat

  • CBP adapts to meet new challenges

  • Major challenges include: organizational constraints, funding limitations, reliance on political rather than ecological boundaries

  • Major opportunities include: organizational history and stakeholder commitment


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