Chesapeake Bay Program: Scientific Assessment and Reporting to Support Ecosystem-Based Management

Breck Maura Sullivan1, Cuiyin Wu2, Morgan Corey2, Allie Wagner2 and Laurel Abowd2, (1)Chesapeake Research Consortium @ USEPA Chesapeake Bay Program, Edgewater, MD, United States, (2)Chesapeake Research Consortium, Edgewater, MD, United States
The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is a unique regional partnership that embraces ecosystem-based management (EBM) by supporting restoration at a watershed scale, working across jurisdictions with an integrated, scientific approach. The CBP is guided by the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which outlines goals for abundant life, clean water, climate resiliency, conserved lands, and engaged communities. The partnership emphasizes a common commitment to collaboration and adaptation. In a series of talks, we will highlight how the CBP demonstrates EBM with three interdependent themes: 1) restoration and water quality, 2) scientific assessment and reporting, and 3) adaptive partnerships.

In the second theme, we share how CBP’s Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting (STAR) Team works to coordinate the monitoring, modeling and analysis among a variety of science providers (e.g. federal, state, academics) needed to explain and communicate changes in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. STAR works closely with other units of CBP to provide science for development and implementation of management strategies for habitat and living resources, like blue crab and submerged aquatic vegetation. In order to serve the science needs of the CBP, STAR develops and updates indicators of ecosystem conditions, coordinates cross-CBP climate resiliency projects, provides science synthesis, and expands networks, such as incorporating citizen science monitoring. To identify and prioritize short- and long-term science needs, STAR developed the Strategic Science and Research Framework, an iterative process to compile critical science needs for each CBP goal, identify knowledge gaps, and leverage the partnership’s collective research enterprise to address priorities. The Framework supports the adaptive management strategy that CBP uses to effectively advance restoration, conservation efforts, and decision making across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.