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You are browsing all eNewsletter articles for the Maryland Coastal Bays: science communication products and report cards project.


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Articles from the Maryland Coastal Bays: science communication products and report cards project
Coastal Bays Newsletter
Coastal Bays Benthic Communities newsletter.
The role of benthic communities in the health of Maryland's Coastal Bays Permanent Link
In collaboration with the University of Maryland's Cooperative Extension Service at the Wye Mills Research and Education Center, EcoCheck (NOAA - UMCES partnership) has produced a newsletter on the history and current trends of benthic communities in Maryland's Coastal Bays. Aquatic grasses and shellfish are important components of a healthy ecosystem because they provide a variety of ecosystem services, improve water quality, and are commercially valuable.

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Newsletter examines land use effects.
Newsletter examines effects of land use on water quality in Maryland's Coastal Bays Permanent Link
Coastal lagoon ecosystems across the Delmarva Peninsula are rapidly evolving due to changing land use patterns and shifts towards intensive agriculture, particularly poultry production, and intensive rural-residential development. These changes in the coastal lagoon seascape are especially evident in the northern Coastal Bays watershed of St. Martin River. This region is intensely developed in areas such as the Ocean Pines canal community, is composed of a high percentage of crop agriculture, and contains a number of poultry feeding operations. Water quality degradation continues to be an important issue in the watershed. This newsletter examines how upstream land use affects water quality.

Report Card Cover
2009 Maryland Coastal Bays Report Card
Maryland Coastal Bays Report Card 2009 Permanent Link
The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2009 Coastal Bays health. Coastal Bays health is defined as the progress of four water quality indicators (TN, TP, Chl a, DO) and two biotic indicators (seagrass, hard clams) toward scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. The six indicators are combined into one overarching Coastal Bays Health Index, which is presented as the report card score. Detailed methods are available at www.eco-check.org/reportcard/mcb/2009. The overall score for the Coastal Bays was a C+ in 2009. While the northern bays and western tributaries continue to struggle, there are signs of improvement in some areas. However, the southern bays—historically the more pristine of the Coastal Bays—are showing signs of degradation.

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2010 Maryland Coastal Bays report card.
2010 Maryland Coastal Bays report card Permanent Link
The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2010 Coastal Bays health. Coastal Bays health is defined as the progress of four water quality indicators (TN, TP, Chl a, DO) and two biotic indicators (seagrass, hard clams) toward scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. The six indicators are combined into one overarching Coastal Bays Health Index, which is presented as the report card score. Detailed methods are available at www.eco-check.org/reportcard/mcb/2010/. The overall score for the Coastal Bays was a C in 2010. All regions declined in overall health when compared to 2009.

Maryland Coastal Bays report card 2013
Maryland Coastal Bays received a C+ in 2013.
Maryland Coastal Bays report card 2013 Permanent Link
The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2013 Coastal Bays health. Coastal Bays health is defined as the progress of four water quality indicators (total nitrogen, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen) and two biotic indicators (seagrass, hard clams) toward scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. These six indicators are combined into one overarching Coastal Bays Health Index, which is presented as the report card score. Detailed methods and results are available on the EcoCheck Coastal Bays report card website. The overall score for the Coastal Bays was a C+ in 2013, with a slight improvement since 2012.

Bill Dennison reveals a grade of C+ for the Coastal Bays for 2015.
2015 Maryland Coastal Bays report card and website launched Permanent Link
On September 8, the 2015 Coastal Bays Report Card and accompanying website were launched with an event at the Ocean City Marlin Club. Produced in collaboration with our partners at the Maryland Coastal Bays ProgramMaryland Department of Natural ResourcesAssateague Island National Seashore, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2015 Coastal Bays health. The overall score for the Coastal Bays was a C+ in 2015, a very similar score to the previous year.

Ecosystem Health Report Card Poster
Poster being presented at International Riversymposium September 4-7, 2006.
Ecosystem health report cards: An approach to integrated assessment Permanent Link
Integrated ecological assessment of the world’s coastal ecosystems is essential for effective management and remediation. The integration of management, monitoring, and science is required to solve the major environmental problems that are occurring in coastal zones around the world. Effective monitoring requires a significant investment of resources. Field work is expensive, data analysis is time-intensive, data integration requires high level scientific input, and recurring costs are subject to inflationary pressures. Integrated ecological assessment provides feedback on these monitoring investments by measuring the effectiveness of management actions. Societal momentum can then be created by successes in assessment and communication. This poster presents processes and approaches to performing integrated ecological assessments, using an example from the Coastal Bays of Maryland.

Coastal Bays Bioindicators newsletter
Coastal Bays Bioindicators newsletter.
Biological indicators enhance water quality monitoring in Maryland's Coastal Bays newsletter Permanent Link
Nutrient point sources such as wastewater treatment plants and non-point sources including agricultural runoff degrade the water quality of Maryland's Coastal Bays through excessive nutrient loading. Identifying specific sources is difficult due to their variety and mixture. Biological indicators can identify nitrogen sources, integrate nitrogen from these sources over time, and detect biologically important nutrients. Mapping identified sources can provide targets for nutrient reduction management actions, monitor management effectiveness, and evaluate the need for increased efforts. This newsletter summarizes data from the 2004 and 2006 water quality surveys of Maryland's Coastal Bays, incorporating the macroalgae Gracilaria sp. and the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica as bioindicators.

2008 Coastal Bays Report Card
2008 Coastal Bays Report Card.
Maryland Coastal Bays Report Card Permanent Link
This report card provides a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2008 Coastal Bays’ health. Prepared annually, the report card rates six reporting regions of the Coastal Bays, using six indicators combined into a single overarching index of health. Health is defined as progress towards established scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. The overall health of Coastal Bays was moderate in 2008, obtaining a grade of C+. The highest ranked region was Sinepuxent Bay (B), while the lowest ranked regions were Newport Bay and St. Martin River (D+). The report card website enables you to explore the report card in more detail via the regions and indicators.

Land use figure
Location and watershed land use composition of stream sites.
Characterization and Comparison of Stream Nutrients, Land Use, and Loading Patterns in Maryland Coastal Bay Watersheds Permanent Link
This paper, published in Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 221(1-4): 255–273, discusses land use and its relation to nutrient concentrations and loading via streams in the Maryland Coastal Bays. The most significant correlation was with the land area of feeding operations. A similar relationship was also found with anthropogenic land area (cropland + urban + feeding operations). Wetland area was positively associated with hydric soils. Watersheds with the most crop agriculture had the highest nitrogen export coefficients, while the highest phosphorus export was in a watershed containing a non-operational chicken hatchery. This suggests that agricultural development, especially animal feeding operations, and landscape characteristics are important factors to understand nutrient loading.

The Integration & Application Network is an initiative of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
Further information: www.ian.umces.edu


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