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Publication Details

Please note this explorer contains 2017 and prior publications and is no longer updated. Visit Data Reports Explorer for the latest NCCOS research data and reports.

Coastal Ecosystem Assessment of Chesapeake Bay Watersheds: A Story of Three Rivers – the Corsica, Magothy, and Rhode

Author(s): Leight, A.K.; J. Jacobs; L. Gonsalves; G. Messick; S. McLaughlin; J. Lewis; J. Brush; E. Daniels; M. Rhodes; L. Collier; B. Wood


Center Team: Oxford Laboratory

Publication Type: NOAA Technical Memoranda

Journal Title: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 189

Date of Publication: 2014

Reference Information:

Extent of Work: 93 pages

Abstract: This assessment explored linkages between land use and aquatic ecosystem health. Three watersheds (Corsica, Magothy, and Rhode rivers) with variable dominant land-use patterns (agriculture, suburban/residential, and mixed-use, respectively) were examined. The health of each habitat was assessed using a suite of observations focused on water quality and the health of aquatic organisms. Standard water quality metrics such as dissolved oxygen concentration, dissolved nitrogen/phosphorous concentration and water clarity were measured. Organismal health parameters included metrics of fish and shellfish growth, disease prevalence and severity, fish abundance, and species diversity. By analyzing these indicators of ecosystem health and their relationship to human activities within the surrounding watershed, this assessment provides insight into the trade-offs between development on land and aquatic ecosystem health. This information is necessary in order to strike a balance between supporting the needs of an ever increasing population and protecting the valuable ecosystem services that have benefited generations of Chesapeake Bay communities.


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