Chesapeake Bay Monitoring
"Monitoring for Management Actions"

I. preface

Maryland's concern with the health of the Chesapeake Bay began long before the Environmental Protection Agency undertook its intensive five-year study of the environmental quality and management of the Bay and its resources. Marylanders have always demonstrated a pride in and a concern for the Chesapeake. Perhaps this affection results from the valuable economic and recreational resource the Bay has been to the State for more than three centuries. But the origin of this pride and concern goes beyond the obvious. To many, the Bay is an integral part of Maryland's heritage, and represents our link to a proud and historic past. Its restoration and protection also presents a

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serious challenge to every Marylander. The effort to revive this precious resource will require a commitment far greater than that undertaken in previous decades. It is a commitment stretching beyond our lifetime. If we are to be truly successful in restoring the Chesapeake Bay to its former vitality, the commitment must be passed from one generation to the next. Our stewardship of the Bay will never end. In order to successfully confront the challenge to restore the Bay, and to insure that our legacy to future generations is an ecologically balanced and bountiful Bay, we must continue to institute a broad spectrum of pollution abatement and resource restoration programs. In the last several years we have intensified efforts to reduce the direct discharge of undesirable materials into the Bay. We have passed landmark legislation to restrict development along the Bay's fragile shoreline and to protect key biological resources from continuing exploitation. While we are confident that these types of actions will eventually contribute to improving the health of the Bay, we don't fully understand how the system will respond to the wide range of available management options. Will we see results in 2-5 years, or will the Bay require a decade or more to purge itself of the nutrients and toxicants stored in its sediments? We do know that the Bay is an extremely complex and changing system, dominated by a myriad of physical, chemical, and geological forces. We also know that the Bay has historically demonstrated a remarkable resilience to many natural or man-induced perturbations. It has endured centuries of storms, droughts, urbanization, shipping, and fishing. But the Chesapeake Bay of today is a more fragile system, increasingly vulnerable to man's actions. The ever growing stress from point and nonpoint sources of nutrients and toxics is approaching a critical threshold which threatens to alter vital links of the aquatic food chain so important to sustaining viable populations of finfish and shellfish in the Bay. Without a more thorough knowledge of the sources of pollutants entering the Bay, an understanding of the transport and deposition processes in the mainstem and tributaries, and a quantitative characterization of the present biological resources, we cannot confidently predict the Bay's response to current efforts and future management actions. Unfortunately, much of the required data on a Bay-wide basis do not exist. We simply do not have adequate spatial and temporal information about fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes. In an effort to address this situation, the Office of Environmental Programs (OEP) initiated a multifaceted monitoring program in the summer of 1984. In addition to significantly enhancing the scale of the existing water chemistry sampling effort, the OEP program also supports data collection of other key ecological indicators of the Bay's health. Many scientists in the Bay community collaborated with OEP scientists in the development and implementation of the current program. Those most intimately involved with the current program are contributing authors on this report. Regardless of our degree of commitment to saving the Bay, we must also recognize that we are working with limited fiscal resources. Most of our potential management actions will be extremely costly. But the cost of not being successful is much greater. We must assess the effectiveness of ongoing management programs, and continue to develop and implement new and enhanced strategies. The data from the OEP monitoring program will play a key role in the success of these plans, and thereby the success of our efforts to restore the Chesapeake. This first biennial report describes the development of the current OEP Chesapeake Bay water quality monitoring program, and presents the findings of the first two years of operation. We are optimistic that future reports will chronicle the improvements we all strive to see.

William M. Eichbaum
Assistant Secretary for Environmental Programs

a.    Preface
b.   Acknowledgements
1.   Introduction
2.   Understanding The Bay's Problems
3.   Program Description
4.   Chemical and Physical Properties
5.   Plankton
6.   Benthic Organisms
7.   Ecosystem Processes
8.   Pollutant Inputs
9.   Management Strategies and the Role of Monitoring
10. Glossary

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