Welcome to our newly launched Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) quarterly newsletter. 
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Fall 2016 - Volume 1 Issue 1
CRC quarterly Newsletter
Chesapeake Research Consortium: Collaboratively Connecting Science to Management
Welcome to our newly launched Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) quarterly newsletter. Our newsletter is one way we are enhancing connectivity between our members and partners. CRC is unique in that we support collaboration between researchers and faculty throughout the region to address key research questions and advance scientific understanding of the Bay and its watershed. We hope you will find this newsletter useful, share it with colleagues, and encourage them to subscribe.
In This Issue
  1. Director's Corner
  2. Opportunities for Future Collaborations
  3. CRaB: Collaborative Research around the Bay
  4. Member and Partner News
  5. CRC Career Development Program
  6. STAC: Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee
  7. CCMP: Chesapeake Community Modeling Program

Director's Corner

Bill BallIt is my pleasure to welcome you to this inaugural edition of CRC Quarterly, a newsletter designed to serve researchers and scientists among our member institutions and partners. For those of you who may not know me, I have been a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University (a charter member of the CRC) for 24 years and have had a life-long relationship with the Chesapeake Bay. I was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, and have been swimming, crabbing, fishing, and sailing on the Bay ever since. An environmental engineer by training, I have been studying various aspects of water quality and treatment since 1972 (coincidentally the “birth-year” for the CRC!) and I have been Executive Director of the CRC since January, 2015. (For a more detailed biosketch, see CRC web site.) I inherited these reins from former Director Kevin Sellner, who very ably guided the organization from 2001 to 2014 and is responsible for many of our current highly successful programs. I am honored to follow in his footsteps.

Over the last several months, we have been assessing how to better serve our constituency. We have done this by talking directly to our Board members and others and by launching a survey among members and partners. A more in-depth look at our survey results will be presented in our next newsletter. (Note: There is still time to participate in the survey if you have not done so -- the survey remains open until November 8.) Meanwhile, however, initial results have identified a few “big picture” needs, including for CRC to take a more active role in identifying funding opportunities; supporting the development of expert, collaborative teams for proposals; and working to better connect research results with management decisions. CRC welcomes taking a larger role in these research focused areas and, thanks in large part to funding provided by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (NCBO), we are already taking the important first step of developing a new communications and outreach program for our constituency that will include a completely revised CRC web site in the coming year. We are happily partnering with Chesapeake Environmental Communications (CEC) on these new efforts. I am personally very excited about these new approaches toward enhancing our members’ already excellent abilities to do science while also augmenting CRC’s long-standing tradition of helping to bring the best possible science to bear on Chesapeake Bay management.

In this issue, I am especially pleased to announce the inclusion of Virginia Tech as the newest member of the CRC. The decision to invite Virginia Tech was unanimously approved at our August meeting of the Board of Directors and was accepted by President Sands’ office in September. Virginia Tech is now the seventh member of the CRC and the first new member since Pennsylvania State University was added in late 2003. Please see the related article in the Member & Partner News section of this issue, which describes some of the motivation for this important development.

To help our subscribers connect and find new resources for their work, we are developing new web based tools that will help us build and maintain a more comprehensive and up-to-date “Rolodex” of self-registering experts in specific areas of watershed and estuary science. This experimental “Chesapeake Bay Science Network,” which we hope to launch in our next newsletter, will facilitate my efforts to identify and communicate with targeted groups about information that crosses my desk and can also be used to help members find cross-disciplinary collaborative partners and work with the CRC to build working groups for strategic planning and research. So please stay tuned and consider “registering” yourself into this network when the opportunity arises.

Meanwhile, we will use this quarterly newsletter for less time–sensitive communications, including conveyance of longer term Opportunities for Future Collaboration, information about on-going collaborative research projects among CRC members (Collaborative Research around the Bay) and Member and Partner News that may be of special interest to researchers and science-oriented managers. In this effort, we will do our best to avoid redundancy with other sources by providing links to other sources whenever possible. In addition, the newsletter will help us keep members apprised of other major on-going “science-for-management activities” of the CRC and its partners, including CRC coordination of the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership’s Scientific Technical and Advisory Committee (STAC), and CRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program (EMCDP), both of which are supported through cooperative agreements with the US EPA. Other current activities include those of the Chesapeake Community Modeling Program (coordinated by the CRC with support from the NCBO), and other workshops, reviews, and scientific activities coordinated in partnership with member institutions and the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership.

Overall, I am very excited about this opportunity to work collaboratively with such a wide and diverse group of talented individuals, including not only our excellent staff at CRC, but also YOU and our very large group of very active and involved researchers, scientists, and managers throughout the region. I encourage you all to fully explore the various sections of this newsletter to learn more about the CRC. We welcome your continuing input and ideas!

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

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.

In the current issue, we provide information about four recent calls for proposals, including two from NOAA and two from the National Science Foundation. In each case, it is easy to imagine “Bay-centric” multi-institutional proposals that could be competitive and the CRC welcomes the opportunity to work with members to develop collaborative approaches.

In sections below, we provide fundamental information about each of these RFPs as well as URL links for more information. Please note that the first RFP is *time sensitive*, with a Letter of Intent due by November 4.

CRC Note: The CRC stands ready to either help lead or support any faculty member in a member institution who is interested in pursuing collaborative work with regard to any of the following RFPs. Please contact us if you have an idea you would like to pursue.

RFP Title: “Regional Vulnerability Assessments for Ocean Acidification (RVA-OA17)”
Funding Source: NOAA Ocean Acidification Program
Deadlines: Tight timing: Nov. 4 for Letter of Intent; January 13th for full proposals
Available Funding: for ~10 projects in the range of $100,000 to $350,000 each with project duration of up to 2 years.
Brief synopsis: The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program is soliciting proposals for collaborative projects of up to 2 years in duration that synthesize ocean acidification information at a regional scale (e.g. Large Marine Ecosystem, large estuary or collection of small estuaries, and state or collection of states in US waters) to determine where societal vulnerabilities to ocean acidification exist or are emerging, in order to provide actionable information for marine resource decision makers. Roughly 10 projects will be funded with total costs in the range of $100,000 to $350,000. More information can be found here here.

RFP Title: “FY17 Fisheries Research Program Grants”
Funding Source: NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
Deadlines: January 19, 2017
Available Funding: A total of up to $500,000 could be made available for fisheries science research projects that focus on Chesapeake Bay forage.
Brief synopsis: NCBO’s Fisheries Research Program seeks to enable better understanding of fisheries status, trends, and ecosystem value to inform ecosystem-based management of Chesapeake Bay species and habitats. For FY17, the Fisheries Research Program will focus on forage species and their habitat.
Better understanding of the forage base, the habitat areas critical for forage production, and predator-prey interactions is a needed step toward ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Chesapeake Bay. To support research to enable this knowledge, proposals in two topic areas are solicited:

  • Characterizing habitat quantity and quality for forage species
  • Connecting forage habitat utilization to productivity

More information can be found here here.

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

RFP Title: “Research Traineeship (NRT) Program)”
Funding Source: NSF
Deadlines: December 9 for letters of intent; February 17 for full proposals
Available Funding: NRT Traineeship Track Awards (14-15 anticipated; FY 2016) are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $3,000,000. NRT IGE Track Awards (14-20 anticipated; FY 2016) are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget between $300,000 and $500,000.
Brief synopsis: innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) is a priority area that has been added to the Trainee Track, which provides support for “effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research. (The other track is for Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE), which “supports testing of novel models or activities with high potential to enrich and extend the knowledge base on effective graduate education approaches.” Both tracks have the same deadlines -- letters of intent to NSF are due on December 9 and full proposals are due on February 17, 2017. NRT Traineeship Track Awards (14-15 anticipated; FY 2016) are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $3,000,000. NRT IGE Track Awards (14-20 anticipated; FY 2016) are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget between $300,000 and $500,000. A maximum of 2 proposals in each track (4 total) is allowed from any one institution and most institution have preliminary vetting processes for proposals. An individual may serve as Lead Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on only one proposal submitted to the NRT program per annual competition. More information here.

If you have ideas you would like to discuss in regard to either of these RFPs that would involve multiple CRC institutions and if you are interested in being a “lead PI” through your institution, the CRC stands ready to assist with helping to organize a potentially winning team. Please feel free to call (410-798-1283) or write the Director to discuss options.

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. In the current issue, we cover a PSU-led Center for Nutrient Solutions, a six-year-long and recently completed SERC-led project on effects of watershed and shoreline characteristics on shallow water habitats in the Bay, a collaboration in a new Virginia-based “Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency,” a JHU-UMCES-led collaboration on assessing the impacts of climate change on farmer behavior, nutrient runoff, and Bay water quality, and a multi-institution study of a shallow water modeling project to inform the Chesapeake Bay Program’s water quality modeling effort. If you have a project you would like us to feature in future articles, please let us know.

Center for Integrated Multi-Scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions

Funding Agency: USEPA-ORD
Time Frame: September 2013 – August 2017
Total Funding: $2.2M
Institutions Involved: Penn State, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, & USDA-ARS

The Center for Integrated Multi-Scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions (Center for Nutrient Solutions or CNS for short), is a collaborative effort between two CRC member institutions, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and investigators with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The center is one of four that were funded by the US EPA’s STAR program as “national centers for innovative and sustainable water research, incorporating a systems view of nutrient management.” The CNS team is working to establish “an innovative and integrative process to identify optimal locations for nutrient interventions (tactics and strategies) within watersheds combined with an explicit stakeholder engagement process” and aims to “find optimal solutions to reduce nutrient pollution by understanding the sources and flow paths of nutrients that impact water quality and ecosystem function and how individual management practices (both strategies at landscape and watershed scales and tactics and individual farm and facilities) integrate and aggregate from field to watershed scales.” Principal Investigators (PIs) and co-PIs include James Shortle at PSU, Arthur Allen at UMES, Pete Kleinman at USDA-ARS and six others at PSU (Rob Brooks, Beth Boyer, Armen Kemanian, Matt Royer, and Tammy Veith). Further information about the project can be found at the Center’s web site.

Effects of Watershed and Shoreline Characteristics on Habitats at the Land/Water Interface

Funding Agency: NOAA CSCOR
Time Frame: 9/1/2009- 8/31/2016
Total Funding: ~$4.5M
Institutions Involved: SERC, UMCES, PSU, VIMS, University of Delaware, Utah State, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, & US Geological Survey

A seven-year, multi-agency study of the combined effects of shoreline hardening and watershed nutrient discharges has just been completed. NOAA’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research supported the project. Dr. Thomas Jordan (SERC) led the team of 18 other Principal Investigators across eight participating institutions.

The team studied relationships between adjacent land uses, shoreline structures, and a variety of nearshore ecological impacts. Specifically, the project focused on impacts to water quality, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), waterbirds, fish and crabs, benthic invertebrates and wetland vegetation. Managers and local planners have long discussed the idea of trade offs when making land use decisions; this collaborative program helps describe and quantify those tradeoffs.

The SERC team, including Tom Jordan, Don Weller, Denise Breitburg and Dennis Whigham, documented relationships between levels of agriculture in a watershed and estuarine ecological responses. For example, their team found that higher percentages of agricultural land use in watersheds are correlated with a decreased abundance of blue crabs and bottom-oriented fish species; lower SAV abundance, diversity, and density; and increased presence and abundance of Phragmites. Rochelle Seitz (VIMS) found that natural shorelines have higher invertebrate abundances, biomass, and diversity, while Denise Breitburg (SERC) documented that shoreline hardening with rock structures results in increased overwintering of sea nettles.

For more information on the project, please see a one page overview of results and non-technical summaries of publications.

Real-time Forecast Tool:

Chesapeake Bay Dead Zone

Hypoxia Forecast Funding Agency: NOAA-Integrated Ocean Observing System
Time Frame: 2013 - 2017
Total Funding: $904K
Institutions Involved: VIMS, UMCES (HPL), & WHOI

Chesapeake Bay researchers have developed a forecast of the Bay's dead zone in an effort to predict day-to-day changes of oxygen availability in the deep waters of the Bay. This effort has been led by professor Marjy Friedrichs with fellow VIMS researchers Dr. Carl Friedrichs and Dr. David Forrest, Dr. Raleigh Hood of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and Dr. Malcolm Scully of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The research team held a meeting with Chesapeake stakeholders in the Spring of 2016 to try and determine how the forecasting power of models could be made available and useful to the average citizen. It was at this meeting that they determined that Chesapeake anglers would be very interested in getting information on day-to-day changes in dissolved oxygen levels around the Bay. This information would be useful to them in helping to determine not so much where the fish are but where they are not.

The research team's approach was to simplify the biology that they are attempting to model while still maintaining the complexity of the Bay's hydrodynamics. With this approach, they sacrifice some accuracy while not being subject to the occasional wild inaccuracies of more complex biological models. The daily nowcasts and forecasts can be accessed here.

Climate Change Impacts on the Phenology
of the Chesapeake Water System

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (Water, Sustainability and Climate Program)
Time Frame: 9/1/2014 – 8/31/2018
Total Funding: $2.0M among four institutions
Institutions Involved: JHU, UMCES (CBP and HPL), Cornell University, & the University of Maine

Researchers from all four institutions, in partnership with EPA and USGS scientists within the CBP, are collaborating on an NSF funded project to investigate the impacts of climate change on seasonal events associated with agriculture, watershed processes, estuarine processes, and policy decisions. The study will attempt to answer four main questions:

  1. How a change in climate affects farmers’ decisions about land use and timing of agricultural practice (human phenology);
  2. How a change in climate, agricultural practice, and land-use affects watersheds’ intra-annual variability of water, sediment, and nutrient export (watershed phenology);
  3. How changes in timing, location, and watershed inputs affect estuary physical and biological response, including the severity of hypoxia (estuarine phenology);
  4. How policy designed to influence agricultural land use and practice to mitigate ecosystem impacts can account for these cascading human, biological, and physical effects in water systems.

Principal investigators involved in this project include William P. Ball (JHU), Ariel Ortiz-Bobea (Cornell University), Damian Brady (University of Maine), Ciaran Harman (JHU), W. Michael Kemp (UMCES-HPL), Laura Murray (UMCES-CBL), and Jeremy M. Testa (UMCES-CBL), and Lisa Wainger (UMCES-CBL).. JHU PhD student Daniel Wilusz serves as project coordinator. A link to a poster providing an overview of project objectives and approach (presented at the January 2016 NSF WSC PI meeting) can be foundhere.

Chesapeake Bay Shallow Water Modeling Project

Funding Agency: EPA - Chesapeake Bay Program Office
Time Frame: 2015 - 2017
Total Funding: $300K
Institutions Involved: VIMS, UMCES (HPL, CBL), ODU, USACE, & CBPO

Marjy Friedrichs (VIMS) and Raleigh Hood (UMCES) are leading a project funded by the Chesapeake Bay Program to investigate the use of high resolution models in the shallow regions of Chesapeake Bay. Shallow in this case refers to waters less than 3m deep. The Bay Program has funded this effort because it is very difficult to simulate water quality in these regions using their current model (CH3D-ICM). In this project, three higher resolution models (SCHISM-ICM, FVCOM-ICM and ROMS-RCA) are being compared to the Bay Program model.

Preliminary results indicate that the higher resolution models provide more realistic simulations of water quality. Ultimately studies comparing results from multiple models, such as that described here, will enable more effective adaptive management and accountability, and build increased scientific, management and stakeholder community confidence in the tools used to support and inform collaborative decision-making.

Member & Partner News

New Research Position for Optimization Tool Development Available Through CRC

In September of 2016, the CRC received notice that the US EPA intended to award it a Cooperative Agreement as the result of CRC’s response to the Chesapeake Bay Program Office Fiscal Year 2016 Request for Proposals for Chesapeake Bay Optimization Tool Development (EPA-R3-CBP-16-03). The objective of the cooperative effort, as stated in the CRC proposal, is “to provide a robust effort of investigation, development (including software programming), testing, and implementation of an optimization system that will result in more cost-effective and otherwise optimal approaches to pollutant load reduction for non-federal CBP partners.” The majority of the effort is to be accomplished by a principal staff person to be hired for an initial period of two years and whom, for reasons of efficiency, will be located at the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office located in Annapolis, Maryland. Office space is being provided by EPA as in-kind assistance under the cooperative agreement. Over the course of the work, this individual will be mentored and advised by a team experts in the field comprising Dr. Darrell Bosch (Virginia Tech), Dr. Hugh Ellis (JHU), Dr. Benjamin Hobbs (JHU), Dr. Arthur McGarity (Swarthmore College), Dr. Stuart Schwarz (UMBC), and Dr. George van Houtven (RTI). As a critical first step, the team has prepared and is distributing a Position Announcement.

Please help us to advertise this open position to any potentially qualified candidates you may know.

Virginia Tech Joins Chesapeake
Research Consortium

Virginia TechEffective December 1 of this year, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech, will be the newest member of the Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC). We are proud to share the press release on the news, provided by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Virginia Tech has joined a prestigious research consortium focused on keeping the Chesapeake Bay — one of the most storied bodies of water in the Mid-Atlantic — a healthy and productive natural habitat for food and recreation. The invitation to join the Chesapeake Research Consortium is the result of Virginia Tech’s long history of research and education designed to better understand the management of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“As a land-grant institution we are especially well equipped to handle watershed issues such as mitigating pollution, promoting environmentally sound agriculture practices, and also maximizing waste water treatment procedures,” said Brian Benham, extension specialist and professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and chair-elect of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).

Virginia Tech has long been a key player of STAC, an organization that is coordinated by the CRC, and made up of 38 independent scientists from throughout the region with expertise in agriculture, economics, social science, watershed processes, nutrient dynamics, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In 2015, STAC members, who are all volunteers, contributed time and effort valued in excess of $205,000 to support the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership’s efforts to restore the Bay. ...more

The CRC is a nonprofit association comprised of six member institutions which include Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland System, the Smithsonian Institution, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Old Dominion University, and Penn State University. Formed in 1972 and originally comprising four institutions (Old Dominion and Penn State were later additions), the Consortium has been working for over forty years to assemble multi-disciplinary scientific expertise to advance scientific research and education and to foster improved science-based management of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. According to CRC’s Executive Director, William Ball, “the addition of Virginia Tech is a natural evolution of our organization that was unanimously approved by existing members. Virginia Tech brings valuable understanding and new connections in multiple disciplines as well as extending our geographic presence into the southwest corner of the watershed. The links between watershed activities and Bay health are very direct and strong, such that Virginia Tech’s expertise in fresh water ecology, watershed processes, and pollution prevention and control will be especially valuable to our organization.”

Official membership in the Chesapeake Research Consortium will further enable Virginia Tech and its faculty in the college to engage in valuable information exchanges, formulate funding for interdisciplinary research, and provide an outlet for publishing and disseminating research.

Career Achievement Award:

Mathias Medal

Walter BoyntonWalter Boynton has been awarded the Mathias Medal for career achievements in both his foundational and wide-ranging research in the Bay's ecosystem. Dr. Boynton is the sixth recipient of this award since its establishment in 1990.  

Boynton was hailed by the Mathias Medal selection board for his wide-ranging and foundational research, which has offered new insights into how the Bay’s ecosystem works. Some of these research concepts initially drew controversy, but are now broadly accepted. Starting as a research assistant in 1969, Boynton spent his career as an estuarine ecologist at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, a part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES).

As a member of the Mathias Medal selection board put it, “The implications of Dr. Boynton’s career and efforts to translate his (and others’) scientific discoveries to influence policy, protect the Bay, and influence our country are outstanding. He has influenced the Chesapeake Bay, our nation, and the world with his efforts.” Board members also applauded his work as a mentor for students and especially his efforts to educate the public about coastal science.

The Mathias Medal is awarded jointly by Maryland Sea Grant, Virginia Sea Grant, and the Chesapeake Research Consortium and is named for the late U.S. Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias of Maryland, who championed efforts to clean up the Bay. The award recognizes outstanding scientific research that contributes to informed environmental policy in the Chesapeake Bay region. Since the Mathias Medal was established in 1990, only six have been awarded.

Wetland of the Future:

SERC's Global Change Research Wetland

SERC Global Change Research Wetland

SERC ecologist Roy Rich is running an experiment in a marsh on SERC property that will hopefully expand our understanding of how marshes around Chesapeake Bay will respond to climate change while at the same time test the limits of electrical engineering. Using infrared lamps, underground wires, and plastic walls, Rich and his team will raise the air and soil temperature as well as increase ambient CO2 levels to mimic those forecast for the not too distant future.

Due to the vital contributions wetlands make in the form of ecosystem services to nature overall, SERC thought it would be best to create a Global Change Research Wetland in order to better understand and predict the stability of future coastal marshes. Through this research they change the variables of this open-air wetland to projected future conditions by raising both the temperature and CO2 concentrations. Researchers seek to answer two main questions at the moment: 1) Will tidal wetland soils be able to build elevation quickly enough to survive rising sea levels? 2) If so, will function of the new marsh be the same as present marshes?

Precision Conservation Collaboration:

Susquehanna River Watershed Restoration Initiative

The Chesapeake Conservancy was awarded funding from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to partner with Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Susquehanna University, Bloomsburg University and Chesapeake Bay Foundation to create an initiative to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from nonpoint sources. This partnership spent 18 months with the Chesapeake Bay Program creating one of the most up-to-date and accurate land cover datasets for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. This 1-by-1 meter high-resolution land cover dataset is one of the largest ever produced and is a great resource for anyone interested in researching the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Chesapeake Bay Program News

Chesapeake Bay ProgramThe Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) held its annual meeting on Tuesday, October 4th at the Virginia State Arboretum in Boyce, Virginia. Each of the seven watershed jurisdictions, federal agencies active in the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partnership, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission are represented on the EC. The group meets once a year to review CBP progress and to set guidance and goals for the coming year.

Three important outcomes from this year’s meeting were that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania committed an additional $28 million to enhance nutrient reduction efforts in the state; local governments were commended for their wastewater pollution reduction and educational outreach efforts; and that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was re-elected as Chair of the EC. For more on the EC meeting, please visit the CBP blog.

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office News

NOAA logo

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office has released a brief document highlighting progress under way in research projects that focus on the ecosystem services provided by restored oyster reefs.

The 2016 Oyster Reef Ecosystem Services (ORES) Research Update includes details on:

  • The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office’s fish utilization field study in the Tred Avon and Little Choptank Rivers,
  • NCBO-funded research at academic institutions around the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and
  • Economic modeling of ecosystem and economic effects of oyster reefs.

This is the second annual update that NCBO has released. While much of the information in the 2015 update included information on how researchers were setting up their scientific protocols, the 2016 update includes some initial findings from field work. Check back for updates and news from the field.

NCBO has released their FY17 Chesapeake Fisheries Research funding opportunity. To provide potential applicants with additional information, an informational webinar will be held November 4. More information can be found here.

CRC Career Development Program

New Diversity Staffer

CRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program Gains New Staffer Position to Support Chesapeake Bay Program Diversity Initiatives

by Melissa Fagan, CRC Career Development Coordinator

Darius StantonCRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program works with the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partnership to offer three-year staff opportunities for science, management, and policy graduates as the partnership works to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The CRC Staffers, stationed at the CBP’s office in Annapolis, MD, provide coordination and administrative support and assistance on technical and management projects. Staffers mature professionally by participating in group training and educational experiences, individual professional development opportunities tailored to each Staffers’ specific career interests, and through volunteer activities with local organizations and agencies.

Over the summer months, two new Staffer positions were added to the eleven positions already supported by the Program. The first of these positions supports the work of the CBP’s Habitat Goal Implementation Team (GIT). CRC Staffer support was already in place for the Habitat GIT but this new position is a welcomed relief to a very busy and productive team. The second position added to the program supports the work of the CBP’s Diversity Workgroup. The Diversity Staffer is a new area of support for the career development program and we are thrilled to add this important topic to our portfolio of Staffer opportunities, especially as the Environmental Management Career Development Program continues look to increase diversity within the program itself.

The CBP’s Diversity Workgroup was formed after the signing of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement to address agreement goals and outcomes related to diversity and environmental justice. The workgroup’s primary focus is to identify stakeholder groups that are not currently represented in the leadership, decision-making, and implementation of conservation and restoration activities and create meaningful partnerships, opportunities and programs to recruit and engage them in the CBP’s efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding watershed. Meaningful engagement is defined by exploring values important to underrepresented communities like public health, economic opportunity, and overall quality of life. Furthermore, the workgroup seeks to promote environmental justice through the meaningful involvement and fair treatment of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income.

In August, CRC was pleased to welcome Mr. Darius Stanton to the CRC family as the Diversity Workgroup’s new Staffer. Darius earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Claflin University in environmental science, while also focusing on political science. While at Claflin, Darius held several student leadership positions, including his college ambassadorship with Green for All and his position as "Mr. Claflin University" 2013-2014. Through both positions he worked to raise campus-wide and the surrounding community’s environmental consciousness. He also ensured participation from the surrounding community. Darius was instrumental in helping Claflin University transition from a university that did not recycle, to being recognized as one of the top five sustainable Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCUs) with new environmental initiatives. Following his time at Claflin University, Darius earned his Master's degree in Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. While at Duke, Darius was a teaching assistant for a community-based environmental management course and also earned a certificate in Teaching Inclusion and Diversity in Environmental Leadership. Welcome Darius!

As the Diversity Workgroup Staffer, Darius will be researching, promoting, applying and tracking efforts related to the workgroup’s mission and goals; raising awareness about diversity, inclusion and environmental justice issues within the Chesapeake Bay region; interacting with a diverse workgroup membership and partner network; and reaching out to local communities and organizations to address community concerns and establish new partnerships. Since he started in August, Darius has been analyzing data collected from CBP partners that will be used to establish a baseline measure of diversity within the CBP partnership. The Diversity Workgroup will also use this information to develop a goal for increasing diversity program-wide.

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. For additional information about the CBP’s Diversity Workgroup or to find out how you can get involved in the workgroup’s activities, please contact Darius Stanton, Environmental Management Staffer for the Diversity Workgroup at stanton.darius@epa.gov.

STAC: Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee

STAC logoThrough cooperative agreements 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 Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), an active committee with 38 members from academic and scientific institutions around the watershed.

Staff coordinate several activities with STAC each year, including planning, organizing, and coordinating: all quarterly meetings; annual scientific and technical workshops; and independent technical reviews of CBP efforts, on such varied topics as criteria development, strategic planning for uncertainty and climate change, and model development and operation. In regard to STAC workshops and reviews, 2016 and 2017 are especially active years, as STAC responds to requests for workshops and formal reviews from the CBP in regard to their efforts during the first seven and a half years of the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) assessment process (2010 to 2025). Each STAC activity results in a written summary report, for which the STAC Coordinator and STAC Executive Secretary are responsible for the final review and publication. 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.

STAC Chair, Dr. Lisa Wainger addressed the Chesapeake Executive Council on October 4th. Information about the EC meeting can be found here. To read the STAC Report to the EC, click here.

For more information on STAC, please contact STAC Coordinator Rachel Dixon, dixonra@si.edu.

CCMP: Chesapeake Community Modeling Program

CCMP logo

CCMP hosted the fifth Chesapeake Modeling Symposium June 1st & 2nd in Williamsburg, VA. A little more than 100 people attended this year’s symposium so the numbers were slightly down from previous years. Nonetheless, the participants were enthusiastic and the meeting was a great success. There were 61 presentations over the two days. Many of the presentations given at the Symposium are viewable on the Open Science Framework at - https://osf.io/jymb4/.

The CCMP is bidding fair well to two long-term members of its steering committee. Kevin McIlhany of the US Naval Academy and Howard Townsend of NOAA are stepping down after several years of service to the committee. We’d like to thank them for their valuable support to the CCMP and its mission over the last several years! Replacing Kevin McIlhany will by Cecily Steppe, also of the Naval Academy. Cecily received her B.S. in biology from Yale and her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Delaware.

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

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