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Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program
The mission of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDDNR) is to lead Maryland in securing a sustainable future for our environment, society, and economy. In accordance with this mission, the Resource Assessment Service of MDDNR has monitored and assessed the health of Maryland's bays and associated waterways since 1996. The purpose of this monitoring program is to track the effectiveness of management actions, target areas in need of protection and restoration, and better understand Maryland's waterways to ensure that all Marylanders have access to safe, clean water.

2015 Monitoring Plan
For the 2015 monitoring season that began in April, the Shallow Water Monitoring Program is set to continue in seventeen Chesapeake Bay segments, as well as in Maryland's Coastal Bays. In total, MDDNR will have approximately 32 continuous monitors deployed throughout the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays with over one-third of these providing real-time data via cellular telemetry.

2015 Map of Monitoring Stations

Continuous Monitoring, in which water quality data is collected every 15-minutes around the clock, will continue on the Sassafras, and lower Susquehanna Rivers and the Susquehanna Flats in the Upper Bay, the Corsica River, Harris Creek (a tributary of the Choptank River), and Coastal Bays on the Eastern Shore, the Back and Patapsco Rivers and mainstem Bay near Sandy Point on the Lower Western Shore, as well as two sites in the mid- and lower-Potomac River. Continuous monitoring will also be expanded to sites in the C&D Canal and the Upper mainstem Bay between the Sassafras and Back Rivers. MDDNR will also be continuing partnerships with the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) for continuous monitoring stations in the Bush, Patuxent, and Wicomico Rivers. Water Quality Mapping Cruises, which intensively map water quality in shallow and open waters, will continue in two segments of the Chesapeake Bay watershed (Back and Corsica Rivers) and will expand into two new segments (C&D Canal and Upper mainstem Bay).

A vertical profiler, which monitors water quality throughout the water column, will also be deployed in an oyster restoration area within Harris Creek on Maryland's Eastern Shore. This will allow MDDNR staff to monitor the effect of oysters, and their filtering capabilities, on water quality throughout the water column. MDDNR will also be continuing a partnership with the Dominion Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland (CCA MD), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI), Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Observing System (CBOS), and Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail to maintain an open-water monitoring buoy over the Dominion Reef at the Gooses in the Chesapeake Bay. This buoy is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), which monitors current conditions and the health of local Bay waters, and is a part of the Captain John Smith Trail, the nation's first national water trail covering 3,000 miles of the historic route Smith took in 1607-08.

For more information concerning the history of and methods used in our monitoring program, please visit the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring and Project Overview webpages. For detailed, technical information concerning protocols, the Shallow Water Monitoring Quality Assurance Project Plan is also available. Data for MDDNR's Water Quality Monitoring Program can be found on the Eyes on the Bay website. You can also follow "Eyes on the Bay" on your mobile device, Facebook, and Twitter. MDDNR also provides updated maps of harmful algal blooms in Maryland's waters and satellite images of the Chesapeake Bay watershed on the web.

Water Chestnut Eradication - DNR Continues Eradication Efforts on the Bird and Sassafras Rivers
Photograph of hand holding Water Chesnut (trapa natans)Water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an aquatic plant native to Asia characterized by a floating rosette of leaves around a central stem that is rooted in the bottom sediments. Originally introduced as an ornamental plant in North America, water chestnut is an invasive species known for its aggressive growth habits. One acre of water chestnut can produce enough seeds to cover 100 acres the following year. With four, hard half-inch spines that are sharp enough to penetrate shoe leather and large enough to keep people off of beaches, water chestnut seeds are major hazards to water contact recreation. Additionally, water chestnut can wipe out native bay grasses from some areas, prevents nearly all water use where it occurs, creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes and provides only marginal habitat to native fish and birds.

In 2012, the water chestnut harvest on the Sassafras River decreased to 26 bushels, down from 50 bushels the year before. A majority of the plants were found in Dyer and Woodland Creeks. Lloyds and Turners Creek, which have been infested with water chestnut since the early 90ís, have experienced a sharp decline. This yearís harvest was cut short due to an algal bloom of the cyanobacteria, Mycrocystis aeruginosa, which occurs annually in the river. Across the Bay, 12 bushels were removed from the Bird River, mostly from the small cove adjacent to Railroad Creek and the creeks near Days Cove. Personal watercraft and canoes were used to effectively remove the water chestnut there. With the help of volunteers, DNR has managed to control water chestnut on the Bird and Sassafras Rivers for the last several years without the need for chemical control.

Water chestnut seeds can remain viable in sediments for up to 12 years, requiring follow-up surveys each year. DNR will continue its annual survey to ensure the Bird and Sassafras remain free of this floating invasive species. If you have observed water chestnut in these or any other rivers in Maryland, please contact Mark Lewandowski at 410-260-8634 or email Read the Water Chestnut Eradication Report.

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This page was updated on 03/18/2013.