Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
Protection and Restoration

Renewed Commitment to Science for the Chesapeake Bay

September 04 2009

The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are required under section 202(f) of the Executive Order to make recommendations to “expand environmental research, monitoring and observation to strengthen scientific support for decision-making on Bay restoration issues.”

A spectrum of people—including scientists, resource managers, elected officials, and the general public—need more and better scientific information about the Bay and its watershed. This helps them make informed decisions that affect the Chesapeake and to track the health of the Bay more accurately.

The 202(f) report will improve decision support by strengthening science and employing adaptive management. New ideas will be presented for ecosystem-based management, including the modeling, monitoring, and assessment needed to improve decisions about restoration and protection of the Bay and its watershed.

The USGS and NOAA will strengthen their broad portfolio of scientific models, monitoring, assessments, and decision-support tools to help the Chesapeake Bay Program improve ecosystem management. NOAA will continue to help protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay through its programs in fisheries management, habitat restoration, coastal observations, and education.

Science and technical support can increase the efficiency of ecosystem management activities by addressing key uncertainties and unknowns that impact the conditions in the Bay and its watershed. This requires research that improves a decision-maker’s understanding of factors affecting outcomes using environmental research, computer modeling, statistical analyses, monitoring systems, or a combination of these different approaches to design new decision-support tools.

The USGS, NOAA, and other federal partners have identified ecosystem-based, adaptive management as a key strategy for future efforts. Ecosystem-based management combines systems modeling and ecological monitoring to optimize the effectiveness of management actions by:

-Modeling factors that affect priority fish and wildlife populations in the Bay watershed, to help the CBP partners identify critical landscapes and habitat needed to protect the Bay’s living resources,

-Expanding monitoring, assessment, and research to include changes in land use, water quality, habitat, and climate, and 

-Designing enhanced decision-support systems.

Together, the USGS and NOAA will work with their Chesapeake Bay Program partners and state and local governments as well as academic institutions toward a renewed commitment to science for an enhanced understanding of the Bay and its watershed.

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