Chesapeake Bay Benthic Monitoring Program

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How's the Bay Doing?

Benthic community condition in Chesapeake Bay is assessed using a benthic index of biotic integrity (B-IBI), which evaluates the ecological condition of a sample by comparing values of key benthic community attributes to reference values expected under non-degraded conditions in similar habitat types. Probability-based sampling and the B-IBI are used to estimate the area of Chesapeake Bay with degraded bottom habitat condition.

Click here to see a map of the bottom habitat condition for each of the 2013 sampling sites.

The area with degraded benthic community condition (failing the Restoration Goals) in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay decreased in 2013, from 73% to 64%, whereas the area with degraded benthos in Virginia increased. The Patuxent River, Potomac River, and Maryland mainstem were in worst condition. Overall, the area with degraded benthos in the Chesapeake Bay remained the same in 2013, with 53% of the Bay’s tidal waters failing the Restoration Goals.

Moderate to good dissolved oxygen conditions in Chesapeake Bay in 2013, compared to the long-term average, were reflected in better benthic community condition in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay in 2013 than in 2012. However, benthic communities in Chesapeake Bay remain in poor conditon, with species diversity and biomass-dominant species declining over the 1995-2013 time period.

See results at right for further detail.

Patterns of condition within each stratum can be explored from the interactive stratum map below. 

Click on the stratum name or area for detailed results

 

      Summary of Results

      Baywide Results Graph

      Sampling Strata

  

Strata Comparison for Wet and Dry Years

      Areas Failing Goals

      Fixed Station Trends


   Recent Research Results

  

Benthic Feeding Habitats of Seaducks

  

Low dissolved oxygen and benthic production

 

 

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URL http://esm.versar.com/vcb/benthos/backgrou.htm

Revised: Sept 4, 2014

Upper Bay Western Tribs Eastern Tribs Mainstem Patuxent Potomac Upper Bay Western Tribs Eastern Tribs Mainstem Patuxent Potomac