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U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 125-01
Online Version 1.0

The U.S. Geological Survey Chesapeake Bay Science Program

By Scott W. Phillips

Map of the Chesapeake Bay region   The Chesapeake Bay, the Nation's largest estuary, has historically supported one of the most productive fisheries in the world. The bay serves as the spawning ground for 70 to 90 percent of the striped bass in the Atlantic Ocean. The 64,000-square-mile watershed of the bay provides vital habitat for migratory birds using the Atlantic Flyway. In addition to supporting aquatic communities and wildlife, the bay's watershed serves the economic and recreational needs of 15 million people. 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. Additionally, the bay was listed under the Clean Water Act as an "impaired water body" in 1999 due to excess nutrients and sediment. Improvements in the water-quality conditions must be made by 2010 or regulatory approaches to achieve these standards will be implemented.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), one of the original CBP Federal partners, has the critical role of providing unbiased scientific information to be used in formulating, implementing, and assessing the effectiveness of restoration goals in the bay and its watershed. The USGS Chesapeake Bay Science Program is meeting this role through a combination of research, monitoring, modeling, and interaction with partners in the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Department of Interior. The success of the USGS effort depends on the coordination of multiple USGS programs and scientists conducting studies of the bay and its watershed.



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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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