Chesapeake Bay Activities


The Chesapeake Bay is our Nation’s largest estuary and provides over $100 billion in annual economic value. The USGS works with Federal, State, local, and academic partners to provide research and monitoring and to communicate results to inform management for the Chesapeake and other important landscapes across the Nation. See our Science page to learn about our themes and topics being addressed.

New map-based narrative of mercury in the Chesapeake watershed

New map-based narrative of mercury in the Chesapeake watershed

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is a vibrant ecosystem rich in cultural significance and natural resources. However, the watershed has a history of impairment due to mercury, the primary cause of fish consumption advisories in the watershed.

Find out more

Toxic contaminant mixtures in surface water and groundwater

Toxic contaminant mixtures in surface water and groundwater

The widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers, application of biosolids and manure, and large-scale animal feeding operations result in contaminant mixtures occurring in streams and rivers.

Read more

Quick Links

Learn more about USGS science activities in the Bay from our Science Strategy. Additional summaries of the USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities are available in the science topics section.

Science Summaries, Features, and Videos

Chesapeake Bay Activities Bibliography

Chesapeake Bay Newsletter

Science Activities

USGS Chesapeake Bay Science Fact Sheet


April 21, 2021

Chesapeake Bay Activities Newsletter March-April 2021

The USGS provides research and monitoring to better understand and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Our technical reports and journal articles, which we translate into science summaries, provide the findings used by federal, state, and local decisionmakers to inform restoration and conservation decisions. Here are some recent highlights.

Learn more about USGS Chesapeake Bay activities

Date published: April 6, 2021

2019-2020 Bay Barometer shows an ecosystem in mixed recovery

Chesapeake Bay Program — by Rachel Felver — April 06, 2021

Date published: March 18, 2021

USGS Releases First-of-its-Kind Survey of PFAS in Pennsylvania Surface Waters

USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center in cooperation with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) released a first-of-its-kind Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) dataset.


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Year Published: 2021

Nutrient trends and drivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Chesapeake Bay Program maintains an extensive nontidal monitoring network, measuring nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrients) at more than 100 locations on rivers and streams in the watershed. Data from these locations are used by United States Geological Survey to assess the ecosystem’s response to nutrient-reduction efforts. This fact sheet...

Hyer, Kenneth E.; Phillips, Scott W.; Ator, Scott W.; Moyer, Douglas L.; Webber, James S.; Felver, Rachel; Keisman, Jennifer L.; McDonnell, Lee A.; Murphy, Rebecca; Trentacoste, Emily M.; Zhang, Qian; Dennison, William C.; Swanson, Sky; Walsh, Brianne; Hawkey, Jane; Taillie, Dylan
Hyer, K.E., Phillips, S.W., Ator, S.W., Moyer, D.L., Webber, J.S., Felver, R., Keisman, J.L., McDonnell, L.A., Murphy, R., Trentacoste, E.M., Zhang, Q., Dennison, W.C., Swanson, S., Walsh, B., Hawkey, J., and Taillie, D., 2021, Nutrient trends and drivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020–3069, 4 p.,

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Year Published: 2021

Spatial and temporal patterns of low streamflow and precipitation changes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Spatial and temporal patterns in low streamflows were investigated for 183 streamgages located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for the period 1939–2013. Metrics that represent different aspects of the frequency and magnitude of low streamflows were examined for trends: (1) the annual time series of seven‐day average minimum streamflow, (2) the...

Fleming, Brandon J.; Archfield, Stacey A.; Hirsch, Robert M.; Kiang, Julie E.; Wolock, David M.

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Year Published: 2020

Assessing native fish restoration potential in Catoctin Mountain Park

Biological conservation is a fundamental purpose of the National Park system, and Catoctin Mountain Park (CATO) supports high-quality habitat for native fishes in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in eastern North America. However, native Blue Ridge sculpin (Cottus caeruleomentum) have been extirpated in Big Hunting Creek above...

Hitt, Nathaniel P.; Kessler, Karmann G.; Kelly, Zachary A.; Rogers, Karli M.; Macmillan, Hannah E.; Walsh, Heather L.
Hitt, N.P., Kessler, K.G., Kelly, Z.A., Rogers, K.M., Macmillan, H.E., and Walsh, H.L., 2020, Assessing native fish restoration potential in Catoctin Mountain Park: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1137, 17 p.,