Monday, April 7, 2008

USGS report cites the many challenges facing Chesapeake Bay's recovery

Chesapeake Bay Journal (US): The Chesapeake Bay is affected by multiple factors, ranging from population growth to climate variability, which will challenge the recovery of the ecosystem. These findings were published in the report, "Synthesis of USGS Science for the Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem and Implications for Environmental Management," which was part of a comprehensive five-year summary by the U.S. Geological Survey of the major factors affecting the health of the Bay ecosystem and the implications for its management.

Population growth and agricultural lands have contributed to an overabundance of nutrients, sediment and contaminants entering the Bay, as well as the loss of habitats that can retain these pollutants. Meanwhile, climate change and variability have caused water temperatures in the Bay to exhibit greater extremes during the 20th century than the previous 2,000 years. Sea-level rise related to climate change is contributing to the loss of vital coastal wetlands. The cumulative impact of pollutants, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change and disease has affected the health of fish and bird populations in the Bay and its watershed.

"There are multiple factors affecting the Bay ecosystem which continue to challenge its recovery," said Scott Phillips, coordinator of USGS Chesapeake Bay Studies. "These findings provide implications about the types and locations of actions needed for the recovery of the Bay ecosystem."...

Photo of the Chesapeake Bay bridges by Benjamin Graves, Wikimedia Commons

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