EPA Report Collection
Information Resource Center
     US EPA Region 3
  Philadelphia, PA 19107

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      Chesapeake Bay
      Living Resources
            1995-96

     Living Resources Subcommittee
           Biennial Report
              Prepared by
         Living Resources Subcommittee
          Chesapeake Bay Program
          February 1997
Printed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Program

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                               Table of Contents

How did the Bay's animals and habitats fare in 1995 and 1996	  1
Stream restoration	  2
   Stream restoration training	  2
   Octoraro watershed restoration	  2
   Difficult Run Urban Reforestation Project	  3
   Piney/Alloway Targeted Watershed 	  3
Fish passage	  4
   Progress opening blockages  	  4
   Fish Passage Workshop 	  6
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation  	  6
   Progress report	  6
Aquatic reef	  8
   Designation of aquatic reef habitat 	  8
   Aquatic reef creation progress  	  8
Wetlands	  10
   Wetlands Workshop	  10
Fisheries management  	  11
   Fisheries' habitat	  11
   Fish Management Plans 	  11
Biological monitoring  	  12
   Data management	  12
   Habitat and Living Resources Monitoring Workshop 	  12
   Zooplankton monitoring	  13
   Stream surveys	  13
Modeling	  14
   Water Quality and Living Resources Modeling Workshop  	  14
   Questions for the models 	  14
Communications  	  16
   Homepage  	  16
   1995-96 Publications  	  16

Figures
Stream miles opened for migratory fish 	  4
Acres of bay grasses  	  7
Wetland losses	  10

Maps
Fish Passages Opened  	  5
Aquatic Reef Restoration Sites  	  9

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   How did the Bay's animals and habitats fare in 1995 and 1996...

          Many Living Resources Subcommittee projects matured during 1995 and 1996,
   with several stream restoration projects hitting the ground.  Watershed groups in
   Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia started planting trees and assessing natural resources.
   Throughout the watershed, the opening of 13 blockages that prevented migratory fish from
   spawning upstream moved from planning stages to implementation.  Over 93 additional
   miles offish habitat were opened during 1995 and 1996. Wild weather dominated 1996.
   Huge floods in January and September poured debris, sediment, and nutrients into
   Chesapeake Bay. One positive effect of the flooding was low salinity, which kept oyster
   diseases in check.
          Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) showed resilience, despite extreme weather.
   Although high freshwater flows may have contributed to fewer SAV acres overall,
   submerged vegetation increased in several regions of the Bay during this reporting period.
   During 1996 surveys, researchers discovered new SAV beds in some Chesapeake Bay
   tributaries. Oyster and aquatic reef creation and restoration continued in Maryland and
   Virginia.  New studies, initiated in 1995-96, are examining oyster ecology on the new reefs
   and how well these reefs are working.
          Reflecting greater understanding of the linkages between fish and their environment,
   the 1996 Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan
   was the first Bay fishery management plan to incorporate an enhanced habitat section.  This
   represented an important  step toward protecting important fish nursery, spawning, and
   feeding habitats such as aquatic reefs, SAV beds, and wetlands.
          Past commitments to monitoring Chesapeake Bay living resources, in addition  to
   water quality, has resulted in long-term datasets that were put to use in 1995 and 1996.
   The monitoring of SAV, plankton and benthos, plus acquisition of other existing fish data,
   contributed to the development and validation of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem models.
   These models are beginning to provide a three-dimensional picture of how the Bay's living
   resources interact with the environment. The ecosystem models will help evaluate how
   nutrient reductions, which the Bay Program committed to in 1983, affect the plants and
   animals.
          Living resources should benefit from the 1996 Adoption Statement on Riparian
   Forest Buffers. The Bay Program's commitment to restoring 2,010 miles of forest buffer
   along streams by the year 2010 will help improve water quality and fish habitat in the
   watershed. The LRSc plans to work closely with local governments over the next year to
   restore streams and wetlands, and protect fish and waterfowl. Biological monitoring will
   continue so scientists can refine the ecosystem models and examine future management
   strategies through model simulations.
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report

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                               Stream Restoration

       Five major rivers run through the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Susquehanna,
Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James rivers supply nearly 90% of the freshwater
flowing into the Bay. These are large river systems, comprised of many smaller rivers and
streams. A huge portion of the Bay's nutrients and sediments come from the tributaries.
Stream preservation and restoration is crucial to controlling nitrogen and sediment inputs
into Chesapeake Bay. Healthy streams provide essential habitat for fish and other wildlife.
       Chesapeake Bay Habitat Restoration: A Framework for Action lists freshwater
tributaries as one of four habitat areas targeted for restoration efforts. In addition to
opening migratory fish blockages and restoring nontidal wetlands, preservation and
restoration of upstream habitat is a Bay Program priority.  The 1996 Chesapeake Executive
Council Adoption Statement on Riparian Forest Buffers reinforces the Bay Program's
commitment to stream restoration. The goal of this statement is to restore forest buffers on
2,010 miles of stream and shoreline in the watershed by the year 2010. Restoration projects
are a good example of local, state, and federal government agencies  partnering with local,
nonprofit organizations.

Stream Restoration Training
       The Chesapeake Bay Program supported training in basic stream processes and river
assessments to bolster ongoing efforts and initiate new stream restoration projects in the
watershed. Training during 1995 equipped 120 people with new, ecological skills that will
immediately assist over 500 locally funded restoration projects.  Trainees are working to
restore nearly 250 miles of stream and riparian habitat in 18 separate river basins. Training
courses in 1996 equipped another 80 people to work on streams in Pennsylvania and
Maryland. Virginia will hold its  stream restoration course for 40 people in March 1997.
       This kind of effort is vital to ensuring both water quality and aquatic habitat for
migratory fishes, especially as fish passage openings proceed. Migratory birds that rely on
forested wetlands also benefit. Stream restoration training helps local governments and
interested stakeholders address tough land-use issues, such as stormwater management,
using ecologically sound, cost-effective techniques.

Octora.ro  Watershed Restoration
       Funding from the Chesapeake Bay Program helped the Alliance for the Chesapeake
Bay (ACB) and the State College, Pennsylvania office of US Fish and Wildlife Service (US
FWS) assess the Octoraro  Watershed, located along the border of Pennsylvania and
northeastern Maryland. A dam located in the middle of the watershed halts fish passage and
divides the watershed into  two ecologically distinct zones, with forests below the dam and
development and agriculture above the dam. The 1995 assessment identified sites suitable
for restoring riparian integrity and biodiversity.
       In 1996, the ACB continued their support to help this community-based watershed
restoration effort by installing several sites in headwater reaches of Octoraro Creek to
monitor bank erosion rates. A demonstration riparian forest buffer project was created on
                                                    Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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   the mainstem of the creek.  In 1996, the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts
   named the Octoraro Creek Watershed Association the "Watershed Association of the Year"
   for their efforts to target stream restoration projects and preserve the streamside forests.
          The Octoraro Watershed assessment and restoration highlights cooperation among
   government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners. In addition to the
   CBP, the ACB and the US FWS, partners include the Natural Resources Conservation
   Service, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Pennsylvania's Departments
   of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the
   Octoraro Watershed Association, and Nottingham Academy.

   Difficult Run Urban Reforestation Project
          The Difficult Run watershed, which drains into the Virginia portion of Potomac
   River, is 80% developed. Despite its urban location, Difficult Run hosts many wildlife
   species. Flooding and soil erosion are degrading water quality on this tributary. The CBP
   has joined forces with Virginia's Department of Forestry, local governments, and nonprofit
   organizations to support the Difficult Run Urban Reforestation Project.  A watershed plan
   is being developed, including a database, map of projects, and site restoration prescriptions.
   In 1995, a visual and hands-on display was developed for presentations and festivals.
          One hundred acres of riparian areas will be restored on Difficult Run. Volunteers are
   planting trees to create 40-100 foot wide riparian forest buffers along the stream. By the
   end of 1996, 1,250 native, water-tolerant trees had been planted by volunteers in the
   floodplains of Difficult Run.

   Piney/Attoway Watershed
          Funding from the Chesapeake Bay Program was used to match local and state
   dollars for a demonstration stream restoration project on Alloway Creek in Carroll County,
   Maryland, as part of the Maryland Targeted Watersheds Program. The Chesapeake Bay
   Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided design assistance. They
   partnered with the Maryland's  Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Department
   of Agriculture (MDA), the Carroll County Public Works Department, the local
   Conservation District, and private landowners to initiate the first stream restoration
   demonstration in the Piney/Alloway Watershed, a predominantly agricultural landscape. In
   October 1995, approximately 500 feet of stream was restored using natural materials for
   bank protection and habitat enhancement. In April 1996, 1,000 feet of riparian buffer, 50-
   100 feet wide, was fenced and planted with native riparian species.
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report

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                                  Fish Passage

       Anadromous fish, including several species of shad and herring, must migrate from
saltwater environments to spawn in freshwater tributaries. Many streams and rivers in the
Chesapeake Bay watershed are blocked by dams, culverts, and other structures. Over 2500
blockages in the watershed keep anadromous and other migratory fish from reaching
historic spawning grounds. As a result, natural reproduction of American shad, in particular,
remains low. Currently, stocking programs conducted by the states help resupply the shad
population in Chesapeake Bay.
       The Bay Program is committed to opening blockages in the tributaries so
anadromous fish can reach freshwater spawning grounds. Fish passage goals established in
1993 direct Bay Program signatories to open 582 stream miles by 1998 and over 1,356
miles by 2003.

Progress Opening Blockages
       In 1995, 37.6 miles of tributary waters in the Chesapeake Bay watershed were
reopened to anadromous fish migration through breaching, notching and development of
fish passage facilities at dams; 55.8 miles were opened in 1996.  By the end of 1996, Bay
jurisdictions had completed nearly 50 fish passage projects, opening a total of 271.8 miles
of stream habitat. This includes 149 miles opened prior to the 1993 Directive. Of the total
miles, 195.6 miles are            0,       ,,.,    _      ,_   ,M.    ,     _,. .
opened to anadromous fish;       Stream Mlles °Pened for Migratory Fish
76.2 are opened only to non-
anadromous fish. Major
projects on the Susquehanna
and James Rivers, to be
completed in 1997-98, will
substantially add to this total.
Before the turn of the
century, another 1,061 miles
will be opened for migratory
fish, when the 30 projects
currently under design or
construction in the
watershed are completed.
       Removal of
blockages, combined with
harvest restrictions and larval
fish stocking, resulted in substantial increases in shad. The CBP Bay states, the Pamunkey
Tribal Government in Virginia, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all contributed to
American shad and river herring stock rebuilding efforts through trap and transfer of adult
spawners and/or culture and release of marked larvae. During 1995-96, almost 90,000
adult shad and over 30,000 adult herring were stocked into spawning waters above dams in
•a 1400-
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         Opened to Anadromous Fish
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                                                   Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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 Completed and Projected Fish Passages
 Within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
*  Completed fish passage (as of 1996)
0  Projected passable by the end of 2003
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   Planned fish passages subject to change
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Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Throughout the watershed, hatchery production and stocking
during this reporting period amounted to 46 million American shad and 900,000 hickory
shad.  During the past 15 years, the shad population estimate in the upper Chesapeake Bay
improved from fewer than 10,000 fish to over 300,000, largely in response to hatchery
releases.  The percentage of wild shad at Conowingo Dam soared to 45% in  1996. This
shows that hatchery-reared shad are successfully reproducing and their offspring are making
their runs back up into these tributaries  Prior to this, only between 11 and 31% of the
adult shad captured were wild. Other migratory fish, including herring and striped bass, are
also benefitting from the opened stream miles.

Fish Passage Workshop
      Forty water resource managers, engineers, consultants, land use planners, biologists,
and government agency representatives gathered in Williamsburg, VA on March 21-23,
1995 for a Fish Passage Workshop, sponsored by the CBP. The workshop emphasized the
basic needs of anadromous fish during migration and techniques for design and
implementation of fishways. Class-room style instruction was supplemented with field trips
to three Virginia fishways, including a double-Denil fish passage at Walker's Dam, a Denil
fish passage at  Harrison Lake, and a notch fishway at William Island Dam. Other dams and
culverts blocking the migration offish were visited to discuss site-specific designs for fish
passage.
                    Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)

       SAV grow in shallow water regions of the estuary and are ecologically important to
the Bay's living resources. SAV provides food for waterfowl and habitat for fish, crabs, and
invertebrates; removes suspended sediments from the water; and adds oxygen to water and
sediments. Growth is dependent on sufficient levels of light reaching the underwater leaves.
Sedimentation and algae that grow on SAV leaves and thrive in high-nutrient situations
reduce the amount of light reaching plants. Thirteen species of SAV once covered over
400,000 acres of the Bay.
        The Chesapeake Bay Program is working to restore SAV to historical levels of
acreage, abundance and species diversity. In 1993, the Executive Council agreed to an
interim goal of restoring 114,000 acres of SAV Baywide by 2005.

Progress Report
       The amount of SAV observed in the Bay during 1995 increased 61% over its low-
point in the mid-1980s. However, SAV coverage in the Bay declined by 8%, or 5,500 acres,
between 1994 and 1995. This was the second consecutive year SAV declined in
Chesapeake Bay. A total of 59,894 acres were documented during the 1995 aerial survey.
Scientists attribute the decline to natural fluctuations, but speculate that spring floods in
1993 and 1994, which carried increased sediments and nutrients, may have contributed to
                                                   Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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   the loss. Most of the losses occurred in three areas of the Bay: around the mid-Bay islands;
   in the lower mainstem of the Bay; and in the upper and middle Potomac River in Maryland.
   Several areas experienced increases in SAV abundance, including Eastern Bay and the
   lower Potomac River. The Chester, Magothy, Manokin, Sassafras, and Severn Rivers also
   gained SAV acreage in  1995.
          Several initiatives to plant SAV in Chesapeake Bay continued or were started by
   SAV Workgroup members in 1996. These initiatives demonstrate the many partnerships
   working to improve Chesapeake Bay habitat. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science
   (VIMS) expanded a 15-year effort to plant eelgrass in Virginia portions of the Bay by
   increasing the number of areas and testing new techniques. The U.S. Geological Survey
   (USGS) continued research on the natural spread of SAV in the Potomac and piloted
   several  planting projects.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
   supported an Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (ACB) pilot project to plant eelgrass in St.
   Mary's  River, done in cooperation with local partners.  The ACB also worked with the
   Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to conduct pilot SAV planting projects
   in the Middle River, using seeds collected by watermen. The Department of Defense (DOD)
   started programs to monitor and, ultimately, restore SAV populations near Chesapeake Bay
   military bases in  1996.  The Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) initiated SAV and
   water quality monitoring around their lands in the upper Bay and the Navy monitored SAV
   near the Patuxent Naval Air
   Station.
          Annual surveys  of SAV
   in the Bay continue and the
   results are being made available
   sooner than in past years.  The
   latest results in map and tabular
   formats are now available on
   the VIMS World Wide  Web
   site at:
   http://www.vims. edu/bio/sav/
   600
                 Potential Habitat (600,000 acres)
H
£
u
o
o
   114--
    95-
    76-
   At the time of publication,
   1996 SAV acreage numbers
   were still undergoing analysis.
                                w
(9
                               00
                                   57-
    38-
                                   19-
                   Interim Goal (114/100 acres)
        L
                                            No Sirveys-
                                       78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95
                                                           Year
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report

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                                   Aquatic Reef

       Aquatic reefs have an important ecological role in Chesapeake Bay. Aquatic reefs
provide essential habitat for the Bay's oysters, as well as finfish and crabs. Historically, reefs
of densely packed individual oysters grew upward and outward, creating hard surface over
many acres of Bay bottom and three-dimensional habitat for bay creatures. Reef acreage has
been lost to harvest pressure, oyster diseases, and pollution. Harvesting techniques have
reduced many three-dimensional reefs to flat surfaces.
       The Aquatic Reef Habitat Plan establishes specific goals to rebuild and restore reefs
as habitat for the oyster and other reef community species. The plan commits Bay Program
signatories "to enhancing, protecting, and restoring benthic reefs as ecological systems to
benefit the oyster resource and the diverse ecological community associated with
Chesapeake Bay structured reefs." Approximately 5,000 acres each in Maryland and
Virginia, and 1,000 acres in Potomac River, must be designated as oyster reef habitat by the
year 2000.  Oyster reef habitat will be created within these designated areas.

Designation of Oyster Reef Habitat
       Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) have
different approaches to fulfilling the Aquatic Reef Habitat Plan goals of designating and
creating aquatic reefs. Maryland is designating specific geographic areas that will be set
aside as aquatic reef areas.  Their goal is to enhance and/or create aquatic reefs on
approximately 10% of the bottom within these areas. The designation process should be
completed by the end of 1998.
       Virginia is creating reef habitat and then monitoring the "field of effect" of the
constructed reef.  The field of effect is considered the area that is positively impacted for
oysters per square foot of created reef habitat. Defining how much effect a new oyster reef
has on an area is essential to determining the areas designated.
       The PRFC is primarily following the designation and creation methods used in
Maryland, but field of effect is monitored as well.

Aquatic Reef Creation Progress
       Aquatic reefs are being created using designed structures, oyster shells, rock, fly
ash, and recycled materials. Virginia completed three oyster reefs in 1995 and two in 1996,
for a cumulative eight reefs built. Maryland reef construction began in 1996, with seven
reefs created.  Success of reef restoration has been demonstrated by the colonization of
natural oysters within a mile radius of one of Virginia's first reef projects. Maryland's
structures are developing a representative oyster reef community.
       Virginia is using historical records of reefs as a "footprint" for potential reef
projects. Four oyster reefs were constructed in Piankatank River and two in James River
during 1993-1995. Several reef-creation technologies were used. One technique involved
washing shells off a barge to create intertidal structure. With another method, earthen
mounds were constructed underwater and capped with shells. Both designs created three-
dimensional structures that stand 5-6 feet off the bottom. Virginia built an intertidal reef in
                                                     Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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         Chesapeake Bay Program Reef Restoration Sites
      Aquatic reef sites
      Oyster reef sites
Data updated August 1996

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  the Great Wicomico River in 1996 and evaluated three types of reef-building materials,
  including coal ash, on a large reef constructed near Fisherman's Island.
        Maryland used strategically placed oyster shell piles and designed concrete
  structures to create aquatic reefs. The constructed piles were 50 feet in diameter and 8-10
  feet off the bottom. Two-foot concrete cubes with open sides were spread between the piles
  to increase structure diversity.  Seven reefs, covering 373 acres were built in 1996: one each
  in the Magothy and Severn Rivers, and Eastern Bay; two in Patuxent River; and two in the
  main Bay.
Losses of Freshwater Wetlands
       1S60S-1970S    1962-89
     Wetlands

       Wetlands are a vital link between the land and
water of Chesapeake Bay. Wetlands help maintain water
quality, contribute to flood and erosion control, and
provide wildlife habitat. Nearly 1.5 million acres of
wetlands occupy the Bay's watershed. Population and
development pressures, however, are threatening both
tidal and nontidal wetlands in all  the Bay states. The Bay
Program established a "no net loss" goal in 1988. The
Chesapeake Bay Wetlands Policy Implementation Plan
fosters protection of wetlands through four strategies:
inventory and mapping of wetlands; protection of existing
wetlands; rehabilitation and restoration of degraded
wetlands; and education and research.
  Wetlands Workshop
         A Wetlands Workshop, held October 30-31,
  1995, addressed wetlands mapping, functional
  assessment of wetlands, and mitigation banking. The
  workshop was sponsored by the LRSc Wetlands
  Workgroup and the Center for Coastal Management
  and Policy, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  (VIMS), at the College of William and Mary.
  Participants ranked research priorities for the
  upcoming years. Assessment of wetland function in a
  watershed context and the effectiveness of restoration
  efforts were considered highest priority. Efforts will
  be undertaken to improve the understanding of
  linkages among wetlands, upland, water quality, and
  living resources. Impacts of development on wetlands
  continue to remain a concern among scientists and
  resource managers.
                     Losses of Estuarine Wetlands
                     600
                           1960s-1970s   198289
  10
                     Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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                              Fisheries Management

         Bay fisheries were traditionally managed separately by Pennsylvania, Maryland,
   Virginia, and the District of Columbia, with guidance from several fisheries management
   councils. Chesapeake Bay Fish Management Plans (FMPs) are developed to provide
   compatible, coordinated management for the conservation and wise use of the Bay's fishery
   resources. To be effective, Chesapeake Bay FMPs must consider biological, economic and
   sociological factors of each resource.
         The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement mandated the development of FMPs for
   commercially, recreational and ecologically valuable aquatic species. Fourteen FMPs now
   provide guidance to Bay states for
   coordinated, Baywide management of
   fisheries. The Strategy for the Restoration
   and Protection of Ecologically Valuable
   Species goes a step further, requiring the
   incorporation of habitat requirements for
   species as part of FMPs.
   Fisheries Habitat
         The Chesapeake Bay Program is
   increasing emphasis on fish habitat through
   two different mechanisms.  New Chesapeake
   Bay FMPs will include Chesapeake Bay-
   specific habitat requirements for each fish
   species. Habitat protection and restoration
   recommendations are being made, based on
   the expanded habitat information.  The 1996
   Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast Black
   Sea Bass FMP is the first to
   comprehensively address habitat
   requirements. This new FMP, adopted by
   the Chesapeake Executive Council in  1996,
   recommends the development and implementation of regional programs to rebuild and
   restore aquatic reefs, protection of SAV, protection and restoration of Chesapeake Bay
   wetlands, and continued implementation of nutrient reduction and toxics prevention
   programs.
         Habitat sections were created  for the Blue Crab FMP, to be published in summer
   1997. Another upcoming document, to be published in late 1997, will link the importance of
   habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with fisheries.  This new habitat-fisheries linkage
   document and the enhanced habitat information in FMPs will provide additional tools for
   resource managers working to protect and restore Bay fisheries.
Fishery Management Plans
Alosids (Shad and herring)
American Eel
Atlantic Croaker and Spot
Black Drum
Black Sea Bass
Blue Crab**
Bluefish
Horseshoe Crab
Oysters
Red Drum
Spanish and King Mackerel
Striped Bass
Summer Flounder
Weakfish and Spotted Seatrout

** available Summer 1997
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report
                                                                                11

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                             Biological Monitoring

       Over 2,700 species of plants and animals inhabit the Chesapeake Bay region. To
better assess the state of Bay resources, the Chesapeake Bay Program has enhanced and
assisted state biological monitoring programs since 1984. Datasets for the Bay's mainstem
and major tributaries are available from the states and are being acquired and used by the
CBP. Aerial surveys track SAV coverage Baywide. Plankton programs are piggy-backed
onto the CBP water quality monitoring program.  States have kept track of benthos,
bacteria, shellfish and finfish commercial landings, and juvenile finfish for decades. Summer
and winter trawl and seine surveys supplement this information. Other state surveys also
monitor habitat coverages, such as oyster bars and wetlands. Numerous waterfowl and
songbird surveys are conducted throughout the United States; the Bay Program utilizes
some of these data.
       The Living Resources Monitoring Plan directs development of a Baywide
monitoring program for commercially,  recreationally and ecologically important species.
The Monitoring Plan recommends the establishment of long-term, Baywide monitoring of
the Bay's plant and animal resources. Analysis of these datasets is essential for a full
understanding of how humans are impacting the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, as well as the
progress of Bay Program protection and restoration efforts.

Data Management
       The Living Resources Subcommittee data management program has acquired
numerous datasets — some gathered through CBP monitoring programs and some acquired
from other organizations. Living resources data is used to create indices of environmental
health and progress of Bay Program activities. Modelers incorporate data to enhance model
performance or verify model predictions. Other researchers may use the data to correlate
animal abundance with water quality factors or other living resources.
       During 1995 and 1996, many datasets became available to researchers on the
Chesapeake Bay homepage (http://www.epa.gov/chesapeake/). Other datasets can be
acquired by request through the homepage or by contacting the Chesapeake Bay Program's
data manager. Plankton and benthos monitoring data now exist in a relational database
structure. This structure is compatible with the CBP water quality and toxics databases.
Species are coded with the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) species codes.
Historic benthic data and marine mammal strandings data are also available.

Habitat and Living Resources Monitoring Workshop
       The Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), the
Monitoring Subcommittee, and the LRSc gathered in September  1995 to discuss existing
monitoring programs and formulate future needs for the program. Cooperation and
coordination between the Monitoring and Living Resources Subcommittees ensures a
monitoring program plan that will aid the modeling process and answer specific questions
about the fate of living resources in Chesapeake Bay.
       Primary recommendations focused on the need for a conceptual framework  for
12                                                 Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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   living resource monitoring so that benthos, fish and other living resources "can be linked to
   water quality over time. These linkages will demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of
   management policies. The group decided to form a new ecosystem indicator workgroup,
   assigned to develop ecosystem-level indicators of the Bay's health. Participants hope to see
   creation of a Benthic Restoration Goal Index in the near future. Monitoring to determine
   nonpoint source nutrient loads further up the tributaries and the impacts of nutrient
   reductions in nontidal waters on living resources is needed. Improved data management,
   increased spatial and temporal coverage, and integration of databases completes the list of
   recommendations from the workshop.

   Zooplankton Monitoring
          A zooplankton monitoring program for Chesapeake Bay has existed since 1984.
   Technical indicators for phytoplankton and zooplankton were completed in 1996; these will
   eventually reside on the Program's homepage. Although many of these indicators are
   highly technical, a "Food Availability Index for Striped Bass and White Perch Larvae" may
   provide a good indication offish larvae habitat quality. Zooplankton and phytoplankton
   data are incorporated into the Tributary Water Quality Model, as the first step toward
   linking water quality with higher plants  and animals. Evaluation of the program this year
   resulted in two important changes in the monitoring program. Beginning January 1996: (1)
   the frequency of sampling was decreased; and (2) spatial coverage of the Bay was increased
   with the addition of new monitoring stations. Greater spatial coverage will help delineate
   zooplankton and phytoplankton changes in the tributaries.

   Stream Surveys
          Stream surveys conducted in Pennsylvania during 1995-96 assessed the physical and
   chemical characteristics of selected tributaries in the lower Susquehanna River basin.
   Stream assessments determined characteristics associated with anadromous fish habitat.
   Blockages that prevented migratory fish passage along these streams (and a few others)
   were also inventoried.  In 1996, Phase III of the Pennsylvania fish blockage inventory was
   completed.  This was the final phase of the Pennsylvania effort, funded by the CBP, which
   inventoried  most of the major stream systems below the confluence of the Susquehanna and
   Juniata Rivers in Pennsylvania.
          During this reporting period, blockages were also identified along selected
   tributaries of the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Data from habitat and fish surveys on
   those streams will be used to test a new model for assessing habitat suitability. Virginia
   Commonwealth University, who conducted the surveys, completed preliminary data
   compilation in 1996.
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report
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                                    Modeling

       The Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Modeling Program explores how water quality, the
growth of plants and animals, and the physical and chemical forces of Chesapeake Bay
affect each other. Model simulations help predict how things may change over time or under
different conditions. The Bay Program's ecosystem models help clarify how the Bay's plant
and animal life interact with the environment. Ecosystem models emphasize nutrient and
organic matter sources and cycles, interactions among food web connections, and habitat
structures. These state-of-the-art models help explain how and why the things we observe in
Chesapeake Bay happen.
       The Strategy for the Restoration and Protection of Ecologically Valuable Species
directs Bay Program partners to pursue development of simulation models of the
Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Simulation models are part of a bigger package designed to
restore and protect Bay species, at all trophic levels. Meeting the 1987 Chesapeake Bay
Agreement goal to "provide for the restoration and protection of the living resources, their
habitats and ecological relationships" requires understanding the physical, chemical, and
biological processes at work in the Bay. The Ecosystem Modeling effort is developing a
series of interlinked models that address relationships in the Bay by  simulating critical
habitats of Chesapeake Bay. These simulations will be used for management decisions
concerning  land use, nutrient loadings, and fish production.

Water Quality and Living Resources Modeling Workshop
       The ability of the current ecosystem models to respond to specific environmental
conditions requires information on the entire Bay ecosystem, including the tributaries. A
workshop, held July 11, 1995, assessed the current tributary modeling efforts. The primary
objective was the technical transfer of modeling capabilities from ecosystem process models
to the larger Chesapeake Bay water quality model. As a result, the workshop  focused on the
delineation of the shallow water zone and the incorporation of ecosystem process models
such as SAV, benthos, and zooplankton. A multi-disciplinary team of modelers have begun
incorporating ecosystem process models into the Bay Program's Tributary Water Quality
Model. Expanded water quality modeling efforts include adding two zooplankton size-
groups and dividing benthos into suspension feeders and deposit feeders.  This allows
linkages between primary producers, like SAV, with primary consumers like herbivorous
fish.  These fish are part of the middle trophic level in the complex Bay food chain and a
crucial link  needed to understand how nutrients ultimately affect fish.
14                                                 Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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   What Can the Ecosystem Models Tell Us?
          Top-down and bottom-up ecological controls, named for their direction of
   influence, can be examined using ecosystem models. It is well documented that nutrients,
   like nitrogen, affect the growth of algae.  What is less known, is that living resources, such
   as SAV and fish, impact water quality as well. Top-down ecological controls start with a
   predator fish like striped bass, which eats menhaden and Bay anchovy. Because menhaden
   and anchovy consume plankton, striped bass ultimately affect plankton populations.
   Plankton affect dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in several ways, so through a chain of events,
   striped bass may eventually affect DO levels in the Bay. The activities of striped bass
   trickling down to DO is considered top-down controls. Bottom-up controls start with
   nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Bay via runoff from land and air pollution. High levels
   of these nutrients can trigger algal blooms which cloud water, blocking light to SAV.  As a
   result, SAV may die.  Bottom-up ecological controls start at the lowest level, like nutrients,
   and build up to higher trophic levels, like SAV and fish.
          The Fish Bioenergetics Models offer bottom-up and top-down linkages among
   Chesapeake Bay's water quality, plants, and animals. From a bottom-up perspective, the
   models show how  phytoplankton affect the growth and production offish such as
   menhaden, anchovy, and striped bass. Top-down controls simulated by the ecosystem
   models include the impacts of predator fish on smaller fish, like menhaden and Bay anchovy.
   Those impacts eventually filter down to plankton populations.
          The Zooplankton Indicators Development Project used monitoring data to describe
   linkages between plankton-eating fish and zooplankton, as well as between zooplankton and
   algae. Recent evidence from this project supports evidence simulated in the Fish
   Bioenergetics models. Results suggest that top-down controls from predator fish ~ or the
   lack of these controls — may significantly affect the number of plankton-eating fish, like
   menhaden and anchovy, living in Chesapeake Bay. These effects trickle down through
   zooplankton, phytoplankton, and benthos. DO may ultimately be affected. Another model,
   the Planktonic-Benthic Interactions Model, simulates potential impacts that suspension
   feeders, like clams and oysters, have on DO.
          Currently, ecosystem model results are applicable only to the mainstem, mid-Bay
   regions. With completion of the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Water Quality Model at the end
   of 1997, predictions should extend into the James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers.
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                               Communications
       The Living Resources Subcommittee provides outreach through printed materials,
free provision of datasets, and new for 1996, via the World Wide Web.  The Chesapeake
Bay Homepage now offers researchers, students, and other online users general information
on the Bay, technical information and datasets, publications, and document descriptions.
                                             Production of technical documents,
                                             policy papers, implementation plans,
                                             and presentations are supplemented
                                             with GIS-based maps. Whenever
                                             possible, public outreach includes
                                             newspaper and television coverage of
Chesapeake Bay homepage address:
http://www.epa.gov/chesapeake/
VIMS SAV homepage address:
http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/
Homepage
       The Chesapeake Bay
Program homepage includes a
Living Resources page, which is
in the early stages of
development.  The homepage
includes general information on
the Bay's living resources,
indicators of the Bay's health,
and technical information and
data.  New publications are
announced and can be ordered
with an online request form.
Living resources datasets can be
found on the Biological
Monitoring Data directory. In
addition, a link to the Virginia
Institute of Marine Sciences
(VIMS) homepage provides the
latest SAV aerial  survey data.
SAV data is put online as it's
analyzed.
                                             the Bay's living resources, especially
                                             SAV, crabs, and fish.
                                          1995-96 Publications

                              Chesapeake Bay Habitat Restoration: A Framework
                                     for Action
                              Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Modeling Program:
                                     Technical Synthesis Report 1993-94
                              Guidance for Protection Submerged Aquatic
                                     Vegetation in Chesapeake Bay from Physical
                                     Disruption
                              Introduction of Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species
                                     Implementation Plan
                              1994 and 7995 Distribution of Submerged Aquatic
                                     Vegetation In the Chesapeake Bay
                              1996 Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast Black Sea
                                     Bass Fishery Management Plan
                              The 1996 Users Guide to Chesapeake Bay Program
                                     Biological and Living Resources Monitoring
                                     Data
                              Removing Impediments to Migratory Fishes in the
                                     Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 1995 Annual
                                     Progress Report
                              Wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay (fact sheet)
16
                                                Chesapeake Bay Living Resources 1995-96

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                         Living Resources Subcommittee
   Chair: Carolyn Watson, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)
   Coordinator:  Carin Bisland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

   Workgroup Chairs
   Aquatic Reef: Jim Wesson, Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)
   Communications: Kathi Bangert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS)
   Ecosystem Modeling: Arthur Butt, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
                      (VADEQ)
   Ecosystem Indicators: Steve Jordan, MDNR
   Exotic Species: John Christmas, co-chair, MDNR
                 Eric May, co-chair, MDNR
   Fisheries Management Plans: Dorothy Leonard, co-chair, MDNR
                            Jack Travelstead, co-chair, VMRC
                            Nancy Butowski, asst. chair, MDNR
   Fish Passage: Richard St. Pierre, US FWS
   Habitat Objectives/Restoration: Steve Funderburk, US FWS
   Living Resources Monitoring: Claire Buchanan, Interstate Commission for the Potomac
                             River Basis (ICPRB)
   Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV): Peter Bergstrom, US FWS
   Waterfowl: Doug Forsell, US FWS
   Wetlands:  Frank Dawson, (chair 1995-96), MDNR
             Carl Hershner, (chair as of Jan. 1997), Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences
             (VIMS)
Living Resources Subcommittee Biennial Report
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