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Open-File Report 2013–1005

Defining a Data Management Strategy for USGS Chesapeake Bay Studies

By Cassandra C. Ladino

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The mission of U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Chesapeake Bay studies is to provide integrated science for improved understanding and management of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Collective USGS efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed began in the 1980s, and by the mid-1990s the USGS adopted the watershed as one of its national place-based study areas. Great focus and effort by the USGS have been directed toward Chesapeake Bay studies for almost three decades. The USGS plays a key role in using “ecosystem-based adaptive management, which will provide science to improve the efficiency and accountability of Chesapeake Bay Program activities” (Phillips, 2011). Each year USGS Chesapeake Bay studies produce published research, monitoring data, and models addressing aspects of bay restoration such as, but not limited to, fish health, water quality, land-cover change, and habitat loss.

The USGS is responsible for collaborating and sharing this information with other Federal agencies and partners as described under the President’s Executive Order 13508—Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed signed by President Obama in 2009. Historically, the USGS Chesapeake Bay studies have relied on national USGS databases to store only major nationally available sources of data such as streamflow and water-quality data collected through local monitoring programs and projects, leaving a multitude of other important project data out of the data management process. This practice has led to inefficient methods of finding Chesapeake Bay studies data and underutilization of data resources. Data management by definition is “the business functions that develop and execute plans, policies, practices and projects that acquire, control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of data and information.” (Mosley, 2008a). In other words, data management is a way to preserve, integrate, and share data to address the needs of the Chesapeake Bay studies to better manage data resources, work more efficiently with partners, and facilitate holistic watershed science. It is now the goal of the USGS Chesapeake Bay studies to implement an enhanced and all-encompassing approach to data management. This report discusses preliminary efforts to implement a physical data management system for program data that is not replicated nationally through other USGS databases.

First posted February 6, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Eastern Geographic Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
MS-521 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Ladino, C.C., 2013, Defining a data management strategy for USGS Chesapeake Bay studies: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1005, 7 p. (also available at



Data Management System Services

Implementation Challenges

Strategies and Lessons Learned

References Cited

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