Welcome to our newly launched Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) quarterly newsletter. 
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Winter 2017 - Volume 2 Issue 1
CRC quarterly Newsletter
Chesapeake Research Consortium: Collaboratively Connecting Science to Management
Welcome to this, the second of the CRC’s Quarterly newsletter. Please share this with colleagues in your organization who may have Bay-related interests but may not yet be subscribed. The Table of Contents below should help you navigate to sections of interest. In this issue, we have added a new OYSTER section (Opportunities for Young Scientist Training, Education and Research) to supplement CRaB (Collaborative Research around the Bay). Two quick requests for our readers: 1) Help us help you by “registering” yourself into our newly initiated Chesapeake Bay Expertise Database (CBED); and 2) Please follow us on social media (links above) to stay up to date and connected with each other.
In This Issue
  1. Director's Corner
  2. Chesapeake Bay Expertise Database
  3. CRC News & Updates
  4. Opportunities for Future Collaborations
  5. Opportunities for Young Scientists
  6. CRaB: Collaborative Research around the Bay
  7. Member and Partner News
  8. CRC Career Development Program
  9. STAC: Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee
  10. CCMP: Chesapeake Community Modeling Program

Director's Corner

Bill BallWelcome to the second issue of the Quarterly! We have appreciated the positive feedback and constructive comments from many of you on the first issue and we welcome your continuing input and feedback. We have also appreciated your earlier survey responses, which have been summarized here. By our next (May) issue, we hope to have a new web page that will reflect many of your suggestions.

I would also like to share with you my vision of my role within the CRC, {more….} which is to serve the faculty and other scientists of the Chesapeake Bay community, especially including the faculty and students of CRC member institutions and the scientists and managers within our many partnering agencies and organizations.  It is my hope to engage with you all in our common mission to further the development and application of scientific understanding for watershed and estuarine management.  In this regard, of course, our primary focus is on the the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources, not only because of its (very substantial) intrinsic value, but also because it is an important world-class “living laboratory” that allows us to lead the world in addressing large-scale issues of ecological management.  It is my hope that, through continued close collaboration and networking, we can maximize our combined and collaborative potential

And so, in the above context: I hope you will ALL read more about the “CB Expertise Database” (CBED) we are developing and REGISTER YOURSELF per the instructions provided there.

Finally, on the topic of science-based management, I believe that we all need to be more active than ever in engaging with the political process. In this regard, the CRC, as a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, cannot lobby on your behalves for any specific legislative actions or political candidates and appointees. On the other hand, however, our organization does have a basic mission of promoting and facilitating the continued application of science toward informing management. In this context, I encourage all scientists to continue to be involved and vigilant in promoting the use of science and factual understanding toward making sensible policy decisions. In this and other matters, even those who work directly for government agencies are of course free to express their personal opinions, as well-informed citizens, to their political representatives. I encourage all of us to do so regularly, because, in an ever more complex and “fact-challenged” world, scientific perspectives are increasingly important to consider in the realm of policy.

Respectfully yours,
sample William P. (Bill) Ball
Executive Director
Chesapeake Research Consortium

Chesapeake Bay Expertise Database (CBED)

The CRC is developing a new CB Expertise Database that is being designed as a simple self-populated “living database” of expertise among member insitution faculty and scientists as well as scientists with partnering institutions, agencies, and NGOs – i.e., a member’s directory that will provide us all (faculty and other scientists at CRC member institutions and partnering organizations) with means of finding each other’s areas of expertise and interest, in regard to both science (e.g., discipline) and areas of application (e.g., CBP partnership management goals).

We hope that ALL of our subscribers will be interested in being registered.

If you would like to register, please just send an email to CRC-CBED@chesapeake.org with your name, position/title, and institution -- we will then follow-up with you personally to collect additional information prior to entering any information into our system or placing that information online.

We also welcome your feedback on the concept (and its long-term design), so please feel free to add comments into your email. Meanwhile, thank-you for participating.

CRC News & Updates

Gay Haygood Retiring
The CRC’s long-time Human Resources Adminstrator, Ms. Gay Haygood, will be retiring on February 28th. Gay has been with us for over 18 years and has provided outstanding support to our organization. Though we’re very sad to see her go, we wish her the very best with her well-deserved retirement!

Gay has been with the CRC since January,1999, and has worked alongside three Executive Directors and five Business Managers. What started as an accounting clerkship grew to encompass many features of human resources and created a continuous history of indispensable service upon which the entire staff could always depend. According to CRC Executive Director Bill Ball, “Gay has been instrumental in helping the CRC not only to administer all details of staff positions, but also to consistently meet payroll deadlines and other financial obligations for almost two decades. She has managed this even while assisting the Business Manager and Director with office administration, benefits management and Board of Trustee interaction. At the time of my own hire, Gay was incredibly efficient at teaching me many details of the CRC’s regular operations, and she has done the same for three different Business Manager hires."

When asked to share a fond memory, Gay related a story of a time the Consortium’s offices consisted of a double-wide trailer nestled in the woods of SERC’s grounds. On a day when only she and the business manager of the time -- a tall man of 6'-6" -- were in the office, she had to step out to collect the mail as usual, but upon her return she discovered a surprise within the trailer -- a four foot long black snake had found its way into the central hallway that led to each office, including her own! Gay called out for assistance, and the business manager poked his head out of his office, shook his head, and stated, “I don’t do snakes.” And promptly shut his door! With no other alternative, Gay set about with her usual determination to round up the slithering interloper. After a short chase around the office, Gay managed to corral the serpent into a large cardboard box and unceremoniously deposit it outside, unharmed. Although funny, this story is good illustration of how Gay has always stepped up to handle whatever needs to be done. Although she will surely be missed, we appreciate that Gay is now looking forward to having time to spend with family and enjoy life at a slower pace."

New Accounting Clerk Position
With Gay Haygood’s pending retirement (effective February 28), the Business Manager will be assuming some of Ms. Haygood’s former responsibilities and the CRC is seeking to fill a new full-time “Accounting Clerk” position -- see the position announcement here. Interviews are currently underway, but the position will remain open until filled.

Research Scientist Position
The CRC is currently working to hire a new Research Scientist for an Optimization Tool Development project being managed through the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office’s modeling team. (Interviews began in December and an offer has been extended; however, the position remains open at the time of writing. See position announcement here.) The new Research Scientist will be working on tools aimed at assisting the CBP partnership’s jurisdictions with finding more optimal approaches to watershed management planning. The Research Scientist will be mentored by an Advisory and Support Committee comprising six in optimization and environmental system analysis: Drs. Darrell Bosch (Va. Tech), Benjamin Hobbs (Johns Hopkins), Stuart Schwartz (UMBC), Hugh Ellis (Johns Hopkins), Art McGarrity (Swarthmore College), and George van Houtven (RTI). The position derived from recommendations of a STAC workshop on the topic (link to STAC workshop report on optimization).

Independent LSRRS Modeling Review
Other ongoing work at the CRC includes the coordination of an external independent peer review of modeling activities being supported by Exelon Corporation toward better understanding the hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry of the Lower Susquehanna River Reservoir System (LSRRS), which includes Conowingo Pond. A website for the review has been established. This is important on-going work that is heof the watershed lping to inform the Chesapeake Bay Program’s modeling effort (i.e., the Phase 6 Watershed Model) and also has important implications for the CBP’s Water Quality and Sediment Transport Model (WQSTM) for the Chesapeake Bay itself. As described elsewhere in this newsletter, the most recent modifications to both models are the subject of on-going reviews by CBP’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).

Survey Results
In the Fall of 2016, the Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) conducted an open survey to gauge constituent understanding of CRC's mission, solicit input on perceptions of how well CRC was achieving its mission, and take suggestions for possible changes in mission focus. The survey was distributed via Survey Monkey and consisted of both quantitative and qualitative questions. The survey link was also distributed in the Fall edition of the CRC Quarterly Newsletter.

Below is a short summary of the quantitative results based on our 79 respondents. A more complete summary of results can be downloaded here.


Opportunities for Future Collaborations

Periodically, we will use this newsletter to alert subscribers to selected opportunities for collaborative involvement in Bay research that are of sufficient breadth to be of broad interest and with timelines (deadlines) appropriate for the constraints of a quarterly newsletter. We aim to highlight initiatives that might not otherwise be on your radar, and focus on opportunities where cross-institutional involvement is likely to enhance success. As elsewhere, we welcome contributions from members and partners for publication in future issues.

CRC Note: The CRC stands ready to support any Principal Investigator in a member institution or partnering organization who is interested in pursuing collaborative. Please contact us if you have an idea you would like to pursue.

Below, please find information regarding an NSF solicitation of interest.

RFP Title: “FY 2017 Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) Funding Opportunity on Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Water.”
Funding Source: NSF
Brief synopsis: In FY 2017, the topics of interest in INFEWS: N/P/H2O include innovative, fundamental research to:

  1. advance catalytic methods for the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia that permit reductions in the energy requirements for fertilizer production;
  2. develop new sensing modalities that will lead to field-deployable, inexpensive, and environmentally and energetically sustainable sensors for real-time monitoring of nitrogen- or phosphorus-containing species as they move, via agricultural run-off, to other water systems; and
  3. develop methods for the selective and efficient detection, sequestration/separation, and recycling of nitrogen and phosphorous species from water (For proposals submitted to CHE, proposals should focus on gaining an understanding of the supramolecular recognition and binding of environmentally-relevant nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing species.); and
  4. develop new materials to optimize the availability of N and control the utilization of P while managing effluents within the context of sustainable energy and preservation of our natural resources.

It is available in two formats: HTML or PDF


Opportunities for Young Scientists: Training, Education, and Research

Several of our member institutions host NSF supported Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Programs. Participating students are associated with specific research projects, where they work closely with faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Specific information, including deadlines, for participating in this summer’s REU’s Programs around the Chesapeake Bay are available through the following links:

Penn State Climate Science Research Experience (deadline 02/15/17)

University of Maryland Sea Grant for marine research on Chesapeake Bay (deadline 02/15/17)

University of Maryland Eastern Shore for marine and estuarine science (deadline 02/15/2017)

Virginia Institute of Marine Science for research experience in several areas of marine science (Applications due February 10th, 2017)

NCBO/CRC Summer Interns The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Program, will again offer students opportunities to explore career paths and gain experience in Chesapeake Bay-related sciences through summer internships in 2017. These paid internships will each run roughly 12 weeks, from mid-May through mid-August. Undergraduates may apply for all three internships; graduate students are also welcome to apply for the hydrology/GIS internship. Two of the internships are based in the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office’s Annapolis, Maryland, office:

Field technician intern, including supporting the Office’s habitat assessment and fisheries work; preparing for and assisting with a project sampling fish utilization of oyster reefs.

Spatial ecology technician intern, using basic GIS tools to assess habitat at fish sampling sites related to oyster reefs; includes some field work.

NCBO will also offer an internship in partnership with the NOAA Mid-Atlantic River Forecast Center based in State College, Pennsylvania: Hydrodynamic and hydrologic modeling intern, help evaluate the effects of improved freshwater inflow modeling on the Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System’s salinity simulations.

For more information, contact Kevin Schabow (kevin.schabow@noaa.gov).

CRaB: Collaborative Research around the Bay

CRC members are an active bunch, addressing some of the most critical issues in Chesapeake Bay. In this section, we highlight collaborative projects involving investigators from two or more CRC member institutions, whether recently completed, on-going, or newly initiated. If you have a project you would like us to feature in future articles, please let us know.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Impacts and Assessment Program

Funding Agency: NOAA
Time Frame: 2016-2021
Total Funding: $3.6M
Institutions Involved: RAND Corp., PSU, JHU, Cornell

MARISA is led by the non-profit RAND Corporation, in partnership with with researchers at Penn State, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University. The principal investigators are Debra Knoppman, a principal researcher at RAND and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and Penn State’s Klaus Keller, a professor of geosciences. MARISA will translate Chesapeake regional climate science so this information can be used by stakeholders and decision makers in building adaptive capacity and resilience to climate variability. The goal is to make the region more resilient to the potential impacts of climate change.

MARISA will rely on scientific models and information alongside close interactions with stakeholders and decision-makers to achieve the program’s following objectives:

  • Collaborating and integrating research and outreach: MARISA will help integrate researchers and communities through a problem-driven, interactive and transparent approach. By working closely with community leaders, policymakers, practitioners, and academics, MARISA seeks to create useful information and decision-support tools that strengthen the resilience of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and other parts of the region to climate variability and change.
  • Assessing risks and vulnerabilities: The program strives to close knowledge gaps about climate-related risks and responses across the Mid-Atlantic region by developing climate data and tools to understand vulnerabilities in diverse contexts, including a comprehensive flood risk assessment for Chesapeake Bay communities.
  • Improving adaptation and planning strategies: MARISA aims to develop planning tools to identify and evaluate adaptive integrated water resources management options that help ensure sustainable freshwater availability, ecosystem vitality, and economic prosperity in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and elsewhere in the region.
  • Educating students and communities: Each institution within MARISA will train graduate and undergraduate students and community members to understand real-world climate-based challenges and opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Supporting regional climate assessments: MARISA will coordinate with other regional climate programs to support and enhance ongoing national and regional climate assessments.
  • Evaluating progress: MARISA will periodically conduct evaluations of its own progress and the combined impact of multiple, adjacent regional climate programs.

MARISA welcomes your thoughts and feedback. Please direct your correspondence to the Program Manager, Neil Berg, at nberg@rand.org or 703-413-1100 (ext. 5557).

Delmarva Conservation Partnership

delmarveThe Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort has been getting a boost from the Delmarva Conservation Partnership (DCP)- a collaborative effort of more than 30 partners, that includes conservation organizations, agribusiness, local farmers, the scientific community, and government agencies. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association formed the DCP in 2015 with the goal of working together to ensure clean water, habitat for plants and animals, and thriving agriculture across the Delmarva.

The group held their second annual Delmarva Conservation Partnership January 18-19, 2017 at Chesapeake College. More than 60 partners from diverse backgrounds and organizations participated in the meeting. Kathy Boomer (TNC Watershed Scientist) noted, “The meeting yielded a great deal of information about which practices are working, the state of the science on hydrology and nutrient transport on the Delmarva, and what information is still needed to improve soil health and reduce impacts on regional water supplies.”

Dr. Amy Collick, Assistant Research Professor at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, made a presentation on her work to refine the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Dr. Collick commended the meeting, “It was really interesting and inspiring to see all of these different groups come together to work on issues around nutrient loss going into the Chesapeake Bay.”

This project represents a successful model of truly adaptive management, including affected industry members, scientists, and managers to all have a voice in the future of effective agricultural practices. Understanding that both clean water and thriving agriculture are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva’s economy, the partnership seeks to continue to accelerate adoption of agricultural conservation practices and strategically protecting and restoring wetlands and natural buffers. Over the last two years, the partnership has coordinated implementation of 8,200 acres of advanced nutrient management, restored 312 acres of wetlands and 98 acres of buffers, and protected 1,319 acres of natural lands.

Member & Partner News

Johns Hopkins University

JHU Investigating Variability of Nitrogen Mineralization by Tree Species

Dr. Grace Brush of Johns Hopkins University is investigating variations in Nitrogen mineralization of trees by species and substrate. Mineralization is not done by the trees themselves but by the bacterial colonies on their roots. Nitrate is the most available form of nitrogen to trees but is highly soluble and hence susceptible to leaching. Dr. Brush’s team has collected 380 samples of soil attached to root hairs of 5 sizes of individual trees of 5 species on 5 different substrates in the Piedmont region of Maryland. Analyses are now being done of the degree of mineralization or nitrification for each of these samples. Preliminary data of four different species on two different substrates have shown that nitrification and mineralization differ not only for the different tree species but for the same species on the different substrates. The goal of this study is to provide information on tree planting that would reduce the potential of leaching of nitrogen ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay.

A new book by Dr. Grace Brush

brushAs part of their Chesapeake Perspectives book series, Maryland Sea Grant is releasing a new book by Dr. Grace Brush of Johns Hopkins University. Titled Decoding the Deep Sediments: the Ecological History of the Chesapeake Bay, this book traces how the shift from a forested watershed in pre-colonial time to a land of agricultural fields and impervious surfaces changed the estuary that drained these lands from a highly diverse benthic ecosystem and economy to a less diverse pelagic system. The evidence for this change and the times when the changes occurred lie in the sediments that accumulated in the Chesapeake over centuries to millennia and which is retrieved by analyzing sediment cores collected from a variety of tributaries and from the mainstem of the Chesapeake.

Decoding the Deep Sediments will be available from the Maryland Sea Grant bookstore later this month.

Penn State University

PSU Surveys Farmer

buffersPenn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences conducted a survey of 6,782 farmers in 2016 to document the measures that farmers have taken independently to reduce pollutant loads to local waterways. This study was lead by Matthew Royer who is director of the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center. Survey respondents represented 41 counties in the Chesapeake watershed. The survey results were verified when researchers visited the randomly selected farms of 700 of the respondents.

The list of water quality BMPs that respondents indicated that they implemented and paid for included:

  • 475,800 acres of nutrient/manure management;
  • 2,164 animal-waste storage units;
  • more than 1.3 million linear feet (246 miles) of streambank fencing;
  • 5,808 acres of forested riparian buffers.

The survey results were presented to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Agricultural Workgroup on December 15, 2016 which approved the results. You can read more about the survey here.

Pennsylvania in the Balance: Advancing the Culture of Stewardship to Meet Dual Goals of Productive Agriculture and Clean Water

On March 1-3, 2016, the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences together with other partners hosted the Pennsylvania in the Balance Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Over 120 diverse stakeholders attended the event, which provided a collaborative forum where motivated leaders in agriculture and the environment identified new, innovative solutions that can help ensure vibrant, productive agriculture while meeting water quality goals for Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

At the end of three days, clear themes and initial recommendations emerged which, if seized upon, can form the basis of a new consensus based, collaborative strategy to ensure profitable and productive agriculture while achieving water quality goals. This strategy embraces agriculture and its ingrained culture of stewardship, and looks for leadership from agriculture to be a solution to clean water.

Themes identified at Pennsylvania in the Balance include:

  • Embrace a Culture of Stewardship.
  • Develop and Deploy Effective Targeting.
  • Integrate Soil Health, Manure Management, and Riparian Ecosystem Stewardship into Water Quality Strategies.
  • Support Community Based Approaches.
  • Recognize and Support a Three Pronged Approach.
  • Revisit and Retool Conservation Incentive Programs.
  • Collaboratively Seek New Funding Opportunities.

Since the conference, the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center (AEC) has taken the lead in advancing conference ideas into action. At various venues and during a one day workshop in October 2016, additional stakeholder input provided recommendations for moving forward.

The resulting recommendations include the development of an implementation framework consisting of an informal, collaborative partnership facilitated by the AEC. The PA in Balance Partnership Council which includes key agricultural and conservation stakeholders has emerged to serve as the steering committee for this partnership moving forward.

Four initiatives, representing items which attendees and stakeholders agreed were priorities for action, are being pursued by the partnership. These include:

  • Initiative 1. Increase Technical Capacity through Enhancements in Conservation Training Opportunities.
  • Initiative 2. Develop and Disseminate a Narrative Around a “Culture of Stewardship” through Soil and Stream Health.
  • Initiative 3. Develop New and Creative Incentives to Encourage a High Bar of Conservation Beyond Compliance.
  • Initiative 4. Develop and Deploy Delivery Mechanisms for Accelerating Conservation in Priority Watersheds.

PA in the Balance is being lead by Matthew Royer, Director of Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center.

Old Dominion University

ODU working with HRSD on James River Bloom Dynamics

Old Dominion University is working the Hampton Roads Sanitation District on a study investigation phytoplankton bloom dynamics in the lower James River. The study, The relationship between surface chlorophyll a distributions, dinoflagellate abundance and speciation, and depth-integrated chlorophyll concentrations in the Lower James River estuary, is investigating the causes of bloom initiation in the lower James River estuary and is lead by ODU’s Dr. Margaret Mulholland. They’ve been working to better understand vertical migration of dinoflagellates with the end goal of generating a tool for interpolating depth integrated chlorophyll from surface measurements made at various points in their migration. The idea is to overcome the problem related to making surface measurements in the morning to assess compliance with chl criteria when cells are still at the bottom of the water column. They are also working to better understand the role of cyst resuspension and mixotrophy in bloom initiation and maintenance.This study is part of an ongoing, five year collaboration that Mulholland has maintained.

University of Maryland

Boesch Stepping Down in 2017

boeschDonald Boesch announced that he will be stepping down as president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on August 31, 2017. Boesch is also a CRC board member. He has served as UMCES president for 27 years. Over his tenure, research grants at UMCES more than tripled, he helped coordinate the effort to form the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, and he helped spearhead the effort to build the RV Rachel Carson.

The University of Maryland’s Board of Regents will soon launch a nationwide search for the new UMCES President. Boesch will remain at the University of Maryland as a faculty member. Read more here.


buffersThe National Science Foundation is funding a five year effort that will investigate finding new ways to manage the oyster industry in Maryland. The study will be a collaborative effort between watermen, environmentalists, fishery managers, and scientists. Leading the scientists participating in the effort is Elizabeth North of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) at Horn Point.

North suggested that the goal of the project is to develop a “business plan” for Maryland oyster industry and that will a better plan, the industry will be more profitable and sustainable. Mike Wilberg at the UMCES Chesapeake Biological Lab is developing a computer model that will inform the effort. The model will allow the team of stakeholders to explore how different management and restoration efforts will impact harvests and the environment. You can read more about the project here.

Interactions between ocean acidification and eutrophication in estuaries: Modeling opportunities and limitations for shellfish restoration

This NOAA-funded project seeks to quantify the interactions between eutrophication and ocean acidification in Chesapeake Bay through a combination of Bay-wide surveys of the carbonate system, controlled experiments, and numerical model simulations. The project is led by Dr. Jeremy Testa of the UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and includes a multi-institutional collaboration with Jeffrey Cornwell, Ming Li, and Michael Kemp of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory, Wei-Jun Cai from the University of Delaware, and George Waldbusser of Oregon State University. The project aims to perform the first comprehensive study of the carbonate system in Chesapeake Bay, and it began this effort in earnest in 2016 with four Bay-wide surveys of carbonate system variables combined with incubations to measure water-column and sediment DIC fluxes aboard the R/V Rachel Carson. Additional surveys were conducted via a partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. These measurements will help constrain numerical model simulations of the carbonate system in Chesapeake Bay.

The project is also investigating the interactions of oysters with the nitrogen and carbonate systems in Chesapeake Bay through a series of field and experimental measurements. These measurements will help the project pursue its ultimate goal of examining potential oyster habitat and interactions with the water-column in Chesapeake Bay under a range of future eutrophication and climate scenarios. While Chesapeake Bay is an ideal location to investigate the triad of eutrophication, ocean acidification, and oyster dynamics, the tools developed in this project will be applicable to other coastal ecosystems.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Researchers Publish Study on Derelict Fishing

VIMS Scientists Donna Marie Bilkovic, Andrew Shield, and Kirk Havens were part of a team of researchers that co-authored a report on the environmental and economic impacts of derelict crab pots (also known as “Ghost Pots”) in Chesapeake Bay. Bilkovic and Havens have been studying Ghost Pots in the Bay since 2008 and have even teamed with watermen on a program to retrieve and remove these underwater hazards.

Some of the findings from the report:

  • 12-20% of the 600,000 crab pots deployed by Chesapeake Watermen each year are lost,
  • 6 million blue crabs are caught in these pots each year and more than half die,
  • In addition to blue crabs, ghost pots also catch oyster toadfish, white perch, black seabass, spot, and croaker,
  • The crab pot removal program resulted in an additional $33.5 million worth of blue crabs being caught between 2008-14.

The study was funded by the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

VIMS Researcher Investigates Salt Marsh Nitrogen Removal

buffersSamuel Johnson of VIMS partnered with Scott Warren of Connecticut College to conduct a large scale study of eutrophication impacts to salt marshes. They flooded acres of Massachusetts salt marsh with nutrient rich water for a decade and studied the impacts. Some of their findings:

  • Plants in the fertilized marshes did not grow much bigger than those in unfertilized marshes,
  • The edges of fertilized marshes were more heavily impacted by erosion than unfertilized marshes.

You can read more about the study here.

Barrier Island Migration and Salt Marsh Loss

Researchers from the College of William and Mary and VIMS published an article in the current issue of Geology on the connections between barrier island migration and salt marsh loss along the Virginia Atlantic Coast. Coupling between barrier islands and their associated backbarrier environments (salt marsh, tidal flats) leads to complex ecogeomorphic feedbacks that are proposed to control the response of barrier island systems to relative sea-level rise. This study tests the applicability of these still-theoretical concepts through investigation of the Virginia barrier islands (eastern United States), which are located in an area of accelerated sea-level rise. Using historical maps and photographs from A.D. 1851 to 2010, they determined that rapid landward island migration (1–6 m yr–1) is leading to backbarrier area reduction and large-scale salt marsh loss (63 km2 or 19%) at a rate of 0.45 km2 yr–1. Landward barrier island migration far outpaces upland marsh migration and is responsible for 51% of marsh loss; the remainder is due to backbarrier processes (e.g., edge erosion). In direct contrast to proposed ecogeomorphic feedbacks linking barrier island and backbarrier environments, shoreline retreat rates were not related to changes in backbarrier marsh, open-water areas, or tidal prism. Rather, these results indicate that, for barrier island systems already undergoing migration, the primary barrier-backbarrier coupling is the loss of marsh and tidal-flat area because of barrier island migration. (Deaton, C.D, C.J. Hein, and M.L. Kirwan. 2017. Barrier island migration dominates ecogeomorphic feedbacks and drives salt marsh loss along the Virginia Atlantic Coast, USA. Geology 45(2), p. 123-126.I)

Chesapeake Bay Program News

Chesapeake Bay ProgramThe 2017 Environmental Justice Empowerment Forum
Please join us for the 2nd Annual Environmental Justice Empowerment Forum on Saturday, February 11 in Newport News, Virginia. The forum will include an environmental justice/historical bus tour of the Southeast community, a green jobs fair, several exciting speakers, and lunch. The bus tour is scheduled for 10 am - noon and departs from the Moton Community Center, immediately followed by the rest of our program. Advance registration is encouraged and free.

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office News

NOAA logo

Animal Telemetry Workshop
NOAA and CRC are supporting a workshop hosted by the Animal Telemetry Network (ATM) February 21 & 22, 2017 at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis . The goal is to identify and receive input on existing telemetry assets and capabilities in the Chesapeake Region and assess what the priorities are for telemetry observations of aquatic species. The workshop will include invited speakers and breakout sessions to identify and prioritize Mid-Atlantic Region stakeholder observation needs, current telemetry observing assets and address the science data management and data sharing needs across regions.

Attendees will include fishery and marine mammal scientists, oceanographers, telemetry technologists, federal and state resources managers, including key stakeholders from regions outside the Mid Atlantic. There are a limited number of spaces available so please contact Kevin Schabow (Kevin.Schabow@noaa.gov) if you wish to attend.

The workshop objectives include:

  • Review the state-of-the-telemetry monitoring and associated science and examples in the region.
  • Identify and prioritize telemetry research and monitoring observation needs.
  • Document the telemetry monitoring applications eg., understanding fish distribution, migration catch, conserve, protect and recover species under the ESA & MMPA, socioeconomics, and management.
  • Showcase the Mid Atlantic Acoustic Telemetry Observation System as a regional tool for data sharing and collaboration.

NCBO/CRC Summer Interns
The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Program, will again offer students opportunities to explore career paths and gain experience in Chesapeake Bay-related sciences through summer internships in 2017. (See details under OYSTER)


NOAA Fisheries releases Regional Action Plans on Climate Change

On December 16, 2016, NOAA Fisheries released five Regional Action Plans, including one for the Northeast, in response to high and growing demands for information on what’s changing, what’s at risk and how to respond to climate-related changes in US marine and coastal ecosystems. Each Plan identifies specific actions to better track changes, assess risks, provide early warnings and evaluate best management strategies to sustain the nation's valuable marine resources and the people, businesses and communities that depend on them.

National Science Foundation

Public Access to Results of NSF-funded Research

The National Science Foundation has developed a plan outlining a framework for activities to increase public access to scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from research the foundation funds. This NSF requirement applies to new awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after the effective date of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) issued on January 25, 2016. More here.

CRC Career Development Program

CRC Staffers Participate in Restore America’s Estuaries December 2016 Conference in New Orleans

by Melissa Fagan, CRC Career Development Coordinator

raeCRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program works with the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to offer three-year staff opportunities for science, management, and policy graduates as the partnership works to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. While the CRC Staffers provide critical support to the Chesapeake Bay Program, their time is also spent exploring their own professional interests and preparing for the next steps in their careers.

In December, four CRC Staffers journeyed to New Orleans to participate in the Restore America’s Estuaries Conference. The theme of the conference was “Our Coasts, Our Future, Our Choice,” which was selected to reflect the environmental, economic, and cultural importance of coastal areas to their residents and to the nation as a whole. The CRC Staffers were not only able to learn about new scientific findings and management techniques; they were able to contribute to the conversation by displaying posters discussing the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Best Management Practice verification process and anthropogenic and climate change impacts on tidal wetland and fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay. Let’s hear more about three of the CRC Staffer’s conference experiences in their own words.

Kyle Runion, Protect and Restore Vital Habitats Goal Implementation Team Staffer
“The Restore America’s Estuaries Conference was an awesome experience. Sessions focusing on innovative restoration techniques and regional planning and policy were invaluable. The representation from the Chesapeake watershed was impressive and along with the local experience from Gulf of Mexico folks, provided such a wealth of knowledge in estuary restoration. Personal favorites among the sessions dealt with tidal wetland restoration and coastal sediment management, topics I hope to further study in my career. Above all, I was struck with the awareness of locals in New Orleans to the environmental issues they face. The trumpet player at the Jazz Playhouse rattled off figures of wetlands lost per day when we told him why we were in town. I’m grateful to CRC for the terrific experience in the lovely city of New Orleans.”

Paige Hobaugh, Protect and Restore Vital Habitats Goal Implementation Team Staffer
“Attending the Restore America’s Estuaries conference proved to be an invaluable experience. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference as a first-year staffer and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. Each session I attended was truly useful, but presentations by graduate students on their marsh expansion and climate change work left me particularly inspired to continue studying and working in this field. In another session, I was able to hear about the experiences different estuary programs around the country had in creating climate change adaptation plans, providing me with insight into the process and its nuances as well as enriching my understanding of our own Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. Having never been to New Orleans, I was struck by its liveliness and welcoming charm (the seventy-degree weather in December also certainly helped). It served to perfectly complement the encouraging and communal atmosphere of the conference. I look forward to visiting again!”

Kara Skipper, Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team Staffer
“Attending Restore America’s Estuaries this past December was a wonderful experience. I participated in a number of informative and eye-opening sessions on a diverse array of topics – incorporating modeling of coastal morphology into coastal policies, designing restoration projects to be more resilient, developing thresholds for oyster reefs, among many others. I was fascinated by the expansive projects and efforts occurring around the United States and struck by the innovative approaches that other states were developing to incorporate climate resiliency into restoration projects. The summit itself was a thrilling place to be. While understanding and managing our living resources can be intimidating, the atmosphere of the conference was one of optimism and drive. From the opening plenary to the conclusion of the event, the air was charged with a desire to absorb as much knowledge as possible, using it to iterate upon others' accomplishments and respond to universal challenges. In addition to discussing coastal and estuarine restoration and management, my fellow staffers and I took the opportunity to explore New Orleans. We browsed the art-filled French Quarter, admired architecture in the Garden District, listened to jazz every night, and ate alligator jambalaya. In short, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the CRC for giving me this unique opportunity.”

For additional information regarding CRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program, please contact Melissa Fagan, Environmental Management Career Development Program Coordinator at faganm@chesapeake.org. Funding for CRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program is provided through a cooperative agreement with the US EPA.

STAC: Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee

STAC logoThe Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) is administered by CRC and funded through a cooperative agreement with the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Partnership – currently spanning the period 2016-2022. The CRC has had a long-standing role of administering all activities of the CBP’s STAC, an active committee with 38 members from academic and scientific institutions around the watershed.

Over the past quarter, many STAC activities and products have progressed. STAC held its third quarterly meeting of FY2016 on December 6-7, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Annapolis, MD. Topics addressed at this meeting included: lurking issues of toxic contaminants, long-term trends in biogeochemical cycles, the extirpation of the black rail, and strategic approaches to Chesapeake Bay research. STAC members also discussed upcoming STAC review activities, and the FY2017 Request for Workshop Proposals (RFP) distributed on December 14th. The RFP can be found online here. Proposals are due to STAC Staff by February 1, 2017. Please direct any STAC workshop questions or inquiries to STAC Staff, Renee Kelly, kellyr@chesapeake.org. STAC will host its fourth quarterly meeting of FY2016 on March 14-15, 2017 at an undetermined location in Annapolis, MD. Please direct any STAC quarterly meeting questions or inquiries to STAC Staff, Elaine Hinrichs, hinrichse@chesapeake.org.

Progress continues on a number of FY2015 STAC workshop reports and the planning for four FY2016 workshops. Reference Table 1 below for more progress and details regarding these workshops.

STAC has four review activities currently in progress: 1) Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Criteria Addendum, 2) Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model, 3) Chesapeake Bay Water Quality/Sediment Transport Model (WQSTM), and 4) Boat Wake Wave Impacts on Shoreline Erosion. In the past quarter, STAC released two review reports, on the James River Chlorophyll a Criteria and on Generalized Additive Models (GAMs). All recent STAC review reports can be found online here. Planning continues for three additional STAC-sponsored independent peer reviews between now and May 2017. For more information regarding STAC, please contact STAC Coordinator Rachel Dixon, dixonr@chesapeake.org.

The chronology of workshops and reviews undertaken since 2015 to present (and those currently planned) are shown in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1. STAC Workshops 2015 – present. Information regarding each workshop - including agendas, presentations, and reports (as available) - can be found on the STAC workshop website.
Table 2. STAC Reviews 2015 – present. For more information regarding the reviews, visit the STAC review webpage.

CCMP: Chesapeake Community Modeling Program

CCMP logo

The CCMP Subcommittee met on December 15, 2016. The subcommittee typically meets twice a year. Discussion at the latest meeting focused on planning the next modeling symposium. The Chesapeake Community Modeling Symposium (CCMP) has hosted the Chesapeake Modeling symposium every two years since 2008. It is the CCMP’s highest profile activity and has proven to be a very popular event. Following the successful Symposium in 2016, the CCMP Steering Committee has decided to expand the meeting and explicitly invite observational contributions. Although the symposium has always been open to, and included observational research, discussions inside and outside of the CCMP indicate that there is a need, and a opportunity for a more general conference that brings the research modeling and observational communities together. The goal is to approximately double the symposium attendance, and expand the time frame from a 2 to 3 day event. The title of the conference will be “Advancing Observational and Modeling Research to Support Chesapeake Bay Management and Restoration.” The CCMP SC feels that it is particularly important and timely to expand the scope of this symposium given growing concerns about potential reductions in federal support for research and management efforts that are aimed at protecting the environment.

The CCMP SC has already started planning this event, which will be convened in late May or early June of 2018 at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis, MD. As in the past, it will include plenary presentations, parallel sessions and a panel discussion. The CCMP plans to motivate a much more aggressive campaign to promote this event, that will include postings in the CCMP and CRC Newsletters, and also printed flyers, emails and a social media campaign. The goal will be to attract participants who are engaged in modeling and observational research, management and restoration in the Chesapeake Bay region and beyond. Papers on estuarine, watershed and atmospheric topics, and their interaction, will be encouraged. In a continuing effort to attract students, a discounted registration fee will be offered to graduate students, and the CCMP is planning to engage students directly in the planning and execution of the meeting. Please consider submitting an abstract and/or proposing a special session.

You can read more of the latest news from the CCMP in their latest newsletter.

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