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Accession Number 5003443

Title SAV restoration and ecosystem research

Project Description The Chesapeake Bay is the nations largest estuary and one of the most productive in the world.

The Bay contains over 295 species of finfish and 45 species of shellfish, which results in the third

largest fishery catch in the US, trailing only catches recorded in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The Bay serves as the spawning ground for 70 to 90 percent of the striped bass in the Atlantic

ocean and provides recreational fishing to one million people, at an estimated economic value of

$1 billion per year. Unfortunately, the commercial, economic and recreational value of the Bay has

been threatened by over harvesting of living resources, loss of habitat, and degradation of water

quality. The Chesapeake Bay Program, a multi-agency restoration effort, was begun in 1983 to

restore and manage this natural resource. Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is a keystone

element of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. SAV provides shelter for at least some life stages of

nearly all the aquatic species in the Bay and is required habitat for many species. Vegetation

functions to improve water quality by providing sites for settling of suspended solids. SAV species

provide food for diving ducks. Beds of SAV were lost from the Chesapeake Bay as development

increased and discharges of nutrients and suspended solids reduced light transmittance. Large

efforts in many quarters, by conservation groups and state and federal agencies, are currently

underway in attempts to restore SAV populations throughout the Bay. There is a need to better

understand the environmental conditions that constrain and enhance SAV establishment and

growth and to better understand linkages between SAV and other living resources within

Chesapeake Bay. The current effort is aimed at providing relevant information on SAV ecosystems

in several areas: 1) understand the links between SAV beds and their environmental requirement

and 2) refine our understanding of the linkages between SAV and other living resources within the

Bay.

Keywords ecosystem, estuary, food web, linkages, restoration, sav, sediments, techniques, water quality,

Principal Janet R Keough, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: janet_keough@usgs.gov; Peter

Investigators Bergstrom, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office:

peter-bergstrom@mail.fws.gov; Michael Haramis, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:

michael_haramis@usgs.gov; Matthew Perry, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:

matthew_perry@usgs.gov;

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