OysterFutures Make Recommendations for Oyster Management in Choptank

After a two-year process to find common ground on ways to improve oyster fishing practices and restoration in the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers, the OysterFutures stakeholders reached consensus and submitted their recommendations to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The OysterFutures research program—an experiment in consensus building funded by the National Science Foundation—brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from the oyster industry, environmental groups, other nonprofits, and government agencies to build consensus recommendations on ways to improve the oyster resource in the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“The ultimate goal of the OysterFutures stakeholder workgroup was to ensure that oyster fishing and restoration policies are informed by the best available science and share stakeholder stewardship values, resulting in an economically viable, healthy and sustainable oyster fishery and ecosystem in the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers,” said OysterFutures project leader Dr. Elizabeth North, a scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

In their package of 29 Consensus Recommendations for improving the oyster resource in the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers, the OysterFutures Stakeholders recommended that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

· Enhance enforcement

· Explore a limited entry program

· Allow hand tonging in some sanctuary areas where no restoration efforts are planned, some with rotating harvest

· Increase planting of shell and hatchery-reared spat

· Complete planned restoration efforts

· Help place privately-funded reef balls

· Combine the above options to improve outcomes

· Use the Consensus Solutions process in Maryland

· Develop cost effective strategies for shell and substrate

· Coordinate investments in marketing strategies and business plans

· Consider increasing oyster fishery related fees and taxes

· Promote education, training, and research

OysterFutures stakeholders considered over 100 options in the process of making these recommendations, many of which were informed by the use of a computer simulation model which forecasted the potential outcomes of the recommendations.

“The stakeholders really wanted to explore a wide range of options, and they found many that are likely to result in better outcomes than continuing current policies,” said Dr. Michael Wilberg, the lead model developer on the project and professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The OysterFutures research program was based on testing a new approach for making regulations and policies called Consensus Solutions. This process – which included multiple meetings, a diverse stakeholder workgroup, professional facilitators, and a science team – built the trust among stakeholders needed to achieve the consensus recommendations.

Nine workgroup meetings were held over two years with representative stakeholders from the key interest groups that affect and are affected by the oyster fishery. Through these meetings guided by professional facilitators, the stakeholders produced a collective vision for the future of oysters in this region.

The final report is available here:  https://oysterfutures.wordpress.com/reports/

This project was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation’s Coastal Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability program with scientific support from researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Virginia Institute of Marine Science and with professional independent facilitators from Florida State University’s FCRC Consensus Center, who developed the Consensus Solutions process and facilitated the nine OysterFutures work group meetings.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

Horn Point Laboratory Offers Science Seminars for Local Residents

Dr. Lorie Staver

The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers are the lifeblood of the Eastern Shore. While many easily recognize the natural beauty Bay country offers, the Horn Point Laboratory is offering “Science After Hours with HPL,” designed to make the science of the Chesapeake Bay as accessible as its beauty.

On May 7 and May 17, Horn Point Laboratory researchers will offer free talks about the science behind Chesapeake Bay. The forty-five-minute talks will not only shed light into the mysteries of the Bay, but also highlight Horn Point programs working to improve the health of the Bay and its aquatic life.  Questions and participation by the audience will be encouraged.

“Science After Hours with HPL” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Easton Branch of the Talbot Co. Library, located at 100 W. Dover Street, Easton MD 21601. To register, contact HPL Volunteer Coordinator Linda Starling at 410-221-8381 or starling@umces.edu You may also register on line at this address:   http://www.usmf.org/events/41118-science-after-hours/

Sessions include:

Dr. Greg Silsbe

Monday, May 7:  Dr. Lorie Staver presents: Tidal marsh restoration at Poplar Island: maximizing resilience ”

Tidal marshes provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife.  The loss of islands in Chesapeake Bay to erosion over the last century has reduced the area of that critical habitat.  The goal of the Poplar Island project is to replace some of it using dredged material from upper Chesapeake Bay.  However, there are a number of challenges in creating self-sustaining tidal marshes, especially sea level rise.  This talk will focus on addressing those challenges to create more resilient marshes, and provide lessons for tidal marsh restoration throughout Chesapeake Bay and beyond.”

Thursday, May 17:  Dr. Greg Silsbe presents: “Satellites and drones; linking water color to water quality”

Every day so called ‘earth-observing satellites’ operated by NASA and other international space agencies pass over the Chesapeake Bay region and acquire millions of specialized high-resolution images. These data are often freely available and, with a touch of science, can be used to track changes in land use, air and water quality at regional to global scales. With the advent and rapid commercialization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), scientists are retrofitting these instruments to emulate the types of measurements made from space. This talk explores the technology and science of this rapidly growing field.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The Horn Point Laboratory is part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University System of Maryland’s environmental research institution. UMCES researchers are helping improve our scientific understanding of Maryland, the region and the world through five research centers – Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, and the Maryland Sea Grant College in College Park. www.umces.edu

UMCES Professor Jeffrey Cornwell Receives Highest University Award

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Research Professor Jeffrey Cornwell has received a 2018 USM Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service, the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement.

Dr. Cornwell, a geochemist and oceanographer at UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory, was recognized for decades of dedication to community service and his balanced leadership on some of the most challenging scientific questions related to Chesapeake Bay. His research has had national and international relevance for management of coastal natural resources and water quality, and his publications in peer-reviewed journals underscore the influence of his science beyond Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.

“Cornwell is committed to independent and objective science that can inform best management practices within the State of Maryland,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Peter Goodwin. “He exemplifies the leadership, collaborative skills, and willingness to apply his work towards solving complex ecosystem issues, such as Poplar Island restoration, understanding the impact of Conowingo Dam, and the role of oyster reefs in reducing pollutants in Chesapeake Bay.”

Dr. Cornwell has led research teams to address critical environmental issues for the State of Maryland and served on numerous advisory committees where he has helped to inform major management decisions made by state and federal agencies.

“Throughout Jeff Cornwell’s career at UMCES he has provided essential service and advice to the State of Maryland regarding the restoration and responsible stewardship of Chesapeake Bay,” said Mike Roman, director of the UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory.

Dr. Cornwell has done pioneering work on oyster recovery programs in Chesapeake Bay and leads ongoing research on the ecological benefits of oysters, demonstrating the importance of oysters in removing excess nitrogen from the Bay and improving water clarity. Serving on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Oyster Best Management Practices Expert Panel, he led a diverse group of scientists and managers who developed the first approved in-water best management practice in Chesapeake Bay that supported efforts to improve water quality and the oyster aquaculture industry. Cornwell’s expertise in oyster filter-feeding, nutrient cycling dynamics, modeling, sediment biogeochemistry, oyster ecology, and population dynamics were instrumental in developing the guidance document, and the group’s calculations and recommendations provide a model for other impacted ecosystems.

He has been key to understanding the impact of dredged material from shipping lanes in Chesapeake Bay, including the conditions under which contaminants are released, and how to use the material to create wetlands or maintain the elevation of existing marshes. Cornwell led a team of scientists studying the establishment of marshes on Poplar Island, a disposal beneficial use of the sediments dredged to maintain efficient shipping to the Port of Baltimore.  Poplar Island now provides essential habitat for a variety of bird species and nest sites for terrapin turtles. His research is fundamental for understanding the successes and failures of the created wetlands and has led to changes in the way wetlands are created.

“It is rare for a person to possess the knowledge, skills and ability to create scientific studies that answer previously impenetrable questions, and to do so in a manner that is collaborative, comprehensible, and easy-going,” said James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. “Jeff has always been approachable, and he has a way of conveying information that allows everyone from lay persons to fellow researchers to understand the applicable nature of the outcomes of his studies.”

His pre-eminence in the field of fate and transport of sediments and the chemical constituents attached to the particles is also reflected in his appointment to lead a major feasibility assessment of removing sediments from Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River. Cornwell was the lead investigator of a team of scientists that provided critical data to the State of Maryland on the type of sediments and pollutants stored behind the dam, how much material enters the Chesapeake Bay under different flood conditions, and how the sediments impact Bay water quality. This information is essential for the State of Maryland to make a sound decision regarding relicensing of the dam, as well as meeting Chesapeake Bay water quality goals. The results were instrumental in helping to inform Chesapeake Bay 2017 Mid-Point Assessment.

Dr. Cornwell joined the faculty at the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory in 1986. Has contributed to teaching and training the next generation of natural resource custodians through his Biogeochemistry course, has served as advisor or co-advisor to 20 graduate students, and mentored 20 Maryland Sea Grant undergraduate REU interns. He completed his B.S. in chemistry at Hobart College and his Ph.D. in oceanography from University of Alaska.

The Board of Regents Faculty Awards publicly recognizes distinguished performance by educators and researchers within the University System of Maryland. Award categories include collaboration, mentoring, public service, teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity. This year’s awards were given by the Chancellor and Board Chairman at the Board of Regents meeting at University of Maryland Baltimore.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is renowned for its groundbreaking research on coastal and terrestrial ecosystems and boasts a number of globally eminent faculty scholars. Dr. Cornwell joins an impressive group of UMCES faculty members who have received Regents’ Faculty Awards in past years, including Drs. Mario Tamburri, Russell Hill, Tom Miller, Andrew Elmore, Keith Eshleman, Patricia Glibert, Rose Jagus, Rodger Harvey, Ed Houde, Michael Kemp, Tom Malone, Margaret Palmer, Allen Place, David Secor, and Diane Stoecker.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

“High Tide in Dorchester”: Special Community Film Preview and Q&A

“If the consequences of global warming and rising sea levels and the worsening erosion and the high tides they bring seem a little hazy to you, come take a tour of Dorchester County, where the future is now,” says Tom Horton at the beginning of the new documentary film “High Tide in Dorchester.” The film creates a powerful, intimate story that looks at the worsening global threat of sea level rise through the lens of Chesapeake Bay’s most vulnerable county.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory and Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth will host a special community preview of the one-hour documentary “High Tide in Dorchester” on Friday, March 9, at 447 Venue, 447 Race St, Cambridge. Doors open at 5:30 film starts at 6. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers.

Tickets are $15 in advance (https://www.usmf.org/events/3918-special-preview-film-high-tide-in-dorchester/) and $20 at the door. Price includes refreshments and one free drink. For more information, contact Carin Starr cstarr@umces.edu or 410-221-8408.

Created by the gifted local team of writer Tom Horton, filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown, and photographer Dave Harp, “High Tide in Dorchester” looks closely at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where scientists and managers are already dealing with the impacts of the rising tide. It encourages discussions and actions concerning sea level rise, erosion, and climate change in Dorchester County.

Historically, millions of people have sought to live as close to the shoreline as possible, but many communities are still grappling with how to meet the imminent challenges of adapting to living on the edges of a rising tide. Dorchester County is already experiencing the future that faces coastal areas worldwide. This low-lying county on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay is the fourth largest of Maryland’s 23 counties by land area, but it is destined to drop to the 14th largest by 2100— or sooner — as waters rise and erosion worsens.

“As the sea level rises, by the end of this century, more than half of Dorchester County will be underwater,” says UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory Professor Ming Li. His research on the impacts of sea level rise on the Eastern Shore is featured in the film. “Global warming and sea level rise is caused by human activities. Because it’s a global a problem, it’s easy to say you can’t do anything, but I think by working together we can tackle this big problem.”

“High Tide in Dorchester” will have its official opening at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. on March 22 and will air during Chesapeake Bay Week on Maryland Public Television in April. For more information on the film, visit http://hightidedorchester.org/.

The screening is sponsored by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory and Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth (DCPG). Proceeds benefit the Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth.

Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth is organized to guarantee a public voice in issues of land and water use. The group pledges to advocate for the promotion, maintenance, and conservation of the natural resources, farmland, waterways and open spaces of Dorchester County.

From the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory scientists engage in world-renowned research in oceanography, water quality, restoration of sea grasses, marshes and shellfish, and expertise in ecosystem modeling.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

Open House at Horn Point Laboratory October 14

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory invites the public to a free Open House on Saturday, October 14, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located along the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the laboratory is renowned for its study of marine ecosystems.

The theme for this year’s event is “Bay Strong – fighting for a clean environment.” It features exhibits by the laboratory’s scientists of their investigations in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal areas along the Atlantic Coast. This year’s theme will introduce our visitors to the super heroes fighting for a healthier Chesapeake Bay. All Community Open House activities are free and open to the public, and children will receive a free t-shirt.

“This is the best day of the year for the community to learn about the science of the Bay. Everyone at the lab is on deck to explain their research with activities and displays that make it easy to understand,” said Horn Point Laboratory Director Mike Roman.
– Build a healthy marsh and learn who are our best partners in this effort.
– See an animation of the travels of oyster larvae as they move from the reef where they spawned to their new, permanent home reef.
– Match up a DNA sequence to microscopic creatures important to the food chain.
– Touch a sturgeon whose ancestors date to the Jurassic period
– Create different shorelines and model weather’s impact with laser imaging over a sand pit.
– Meet and talk to graduate students about their environmental career goals.
– At the children’s activity booth, create animals that live in the water with thumb print art. Play games that teach fun facts about the Bay. Go on a scavenger hunt through the exhibits to learn how the Bay’s super heroes are fighting for a cleaner environment.

The open house is designed to interest all ages and will take place rain or shine. The Horn Point Laboratory campus is located 2020 Horns Point Road on Route 343 outside of Cambridge, Maryland.

For more information, visit  http://www.umces.edu/hpl/openhouse or contact Carin Starr at cstarr@umces.edu, 410-221-8408.

Part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s statewide network of research centers, the Horn Point Laboratory on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has advanced society’s understanding of the world’s estuarine and ocean ecosystems. Horn Point scientists are world-respected for their interdisciplinary programs in oceanography, water quality, restoration of sea grasses, marshes and shellfish, and investigations of sea level rise and storm surge.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
For 90 years, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) has led the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories spanning from the Allegheny Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, our scientists analyze changes in rivers and streams, monitor air quality, sample fish populations, and assess the impacts of climate change along our coastal communities. We provide sound scientific advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

New research award will help resource managers plan for increase in toxic algal blooms in Chesapeake waterways

Researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory have been awarded funding to develop a new model to better predict the long-term occurrences of dangerous and costly harmful algal blooms in the Chesapeake Bay. The cooperative project is made possible by the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS).

“The harmful algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay have been increasing due to nutrient enrichment, and with climate change we are going to have more occurrences,” said co-investigator Professor Ming Li. “In this project we will be developing a new mechanistic model to predict the harmful algal blooms.”

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries have long suffered from harmful algae blooms, or HABs, caused by excess nutrients running off of the land, due largely to a continually growing population in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and the development of animal and plant agriculture in its watershed. Ecosystem-disrupting events, harmful algal blooms have shown marked increase in the past 20 years.

The three-year project will develop a framework for scientists and natural resources managers to understand the impact of blooms by two of the most common microscopic algae in the Chesapeake Bay. Prorocentrum minimum, better known as ‘mahogany tide,’ can severely reduce the amount of oxygen available to living things, killing fish and altering food webs. Kalrodinium veneficum produces a toxin that has been implicated in fish-kill events in the Chesapeake Bay, as well been as associated with failure of oyster spawning and development.

“This is not a forecasting model for three or four days out,” said Professor Patricia Glibert. “Our aim is to ask longer term questions, such as if temperatures warm by a certain amount, what effect will that have? If we were to reduce nutrients, how will that affect harmful algal blooms?”

The model would be a tool to play out a number of different scenarios to understand the impact of different potential management decisions and ecosystem responses over decades. Glibert, who has been working on understanding toxic algal blooms around the world, will be handling the physiological experiments. Li, an expert on modeling hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay, will focus on developing a numerical model for the HABs.

The Chesapeake Bay is not the only place facing such problems. Similar events are happening off the coast of China and in many parts of Europe.

“We’re seeing this all over the world. More blooms, more often, lasting longer. In many places these trends are consistent with increased nitrogen loads,” Glibert.

Climate change is expected to result in warmer temperatures, higher sea level, and a changing weather patterns that will further increase the amount of nutrient pollution running off the land into waterways.

“We will be working closely with managers to develop scenarios and questions they wish to have us ask,” said Li, referring to groups like the Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of the Environment, and others. “We will add a model of the harmful algal blooms to an existing water-quality model and come up with a product that will be useful for managers.”

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

Horn Point Laboratory Breaks Ground on 10-Acre Solar Field with Standard Solar

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Standard Solar marked the beginning of a partnership to bring sustainable energy to the Horn Point Laboratory campus with a groundbreaking ceremony. Standard Solar will install a 10-acre solar field on campus that will generate approximately 50% of the Horn Point Laboratory’s annual energy consumption. UMCES has also received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration to install four vehicle-charging stations under a new solar canopy on campus.

“Higher education has a key role in shaping a sustainable society. It’s essential that we lead by example,” said UMCES president Don Boesch, who has led the University System of Maryland’s Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative since 2008.

Photo: (L-R): Bill Reddish (Congressman Harris’ office), Melissa Kelly (Senator Van Hollen’s office), Kimberly Kratovil (Senator Cardin’s office), Jeff Miley (Asst. Dir. for Facilities, Horn Point Laboratory), Don Boesch (President, UMCES), Mike Roman (Director, Horn Point Laboratory), Tony Clifford (CDO, Standard Solar), Ray Cho (Director of Facilities, UMCES), Mary Beth Tung (Director, Maryland Energy Administration), Mary Ann Ibeziako, Director of Procurement, University of Maryland College Park).

UMCES signed an agreement this spring with Standard Solar to install the solar field. The 2MW system has an expected approximate annual generation of 3.5 MWh of solar renewable energy. The solar field is expected be in-service by the spring of 2018.

“Investing in renewable energy is a huge win for the State because we are creating jobs, supporting economic growth via electricity bill reduction, and addressing environmental concerns shared by all Marylanders,” said Director Mary Beth Tung, Maryland Energy Administration.

The project is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in which Standard Solar installs and operates the solar panels in exchange for the use of land. UMCES agrees to purchase the equivalent energy being generated over the next 20 years from Standard Solar.

“We applaud UMCES for its renewable initiatives and innovative efforts to achieve their energy-reduction goals,” said Tony Clifford, CDO, Standard Solar. “We look forward to a great partnership with the University and being a part of their very important work to provide information and data to help local and national leaders make better decisions about the environment.”

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a signatory to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (Second Nature) and has launched several programs aimed at reducing our environmental footprint, including setting goals for reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions at each of our laboratories, upgrading aging infrastructure to newer, more energy-efficient alternatives, and building all new campus buildings to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.

“The solar field is another example of how we are using innovative ways to manage Horn Point Laboratory in a way that reduces our environmental footprint and engages with the community,” said Mike Roman, director of the Horn Point Laboratory. This project also contributes to increasing Maryland’s in-state distributed electricity generation capacity and reducing the dependency on electricity imported from other states.

UMCES has also been selected to receive a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program to offset the cost of four level-II electrical vehicle charging stations on campus. Work begins on the project this fall.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

STANDARD SOLAR

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UMCES Invites Everyone to Report Dolphin Sightings in Chesapeake Bay

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science invites everyone who spends time on or near the Chesapeake Bay to report dolphin sightings with a new online tracking system. Chesapeake DolphinWatch allows users to mark the location of their dolphin sightings on a map of the Chesapeake and its tributaries so scientists can better understand where the dolphins are and where they go. The online tracker is accessible at www.chesapeakedolphinwatch.org .

“We’d like to increase people’s awareness of the dolphins and collect data at the same time,” said Helen Bailey, a scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. She specializes in studying the movements of marine mammals.“Whether you’re at home, whether you have a community pier, you live near the water, or you go out on the water, we need your eyes on the sea telling us where are the dolphins.”

Bottlenose dolphins are frequently spotted in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer with reports of them leaping in the air or bow riding boats. However, very little is known about how often dolphins actually come into the Bay, how long they spend there, what areas of the Bay they are using and why.

“Right now we have such scarce information. This is really the first time we are systematically recording this,” said Bailey. “We are hearing anecdotally that dolphins are becoming more frequent visitors to the Chesapeake Bay, but we really don’t have much information at all about where they are going and when. The more eyes we have on the water the better to report dolphin sightings. We think that citizens can make very good citizen scientists,” she said.

The online tracker has four main sections. There is a map page where users can see all of the reported sightings and tap to report their own sighting. Users can either enter the location where they saw the dolphins or have the device use the current location to mark the sighting. Users will be able to view how many users are accessing the tracker and the dolphin sightings in real time. There is also an information page with responsible wildlife viewing guidelines and to learn more about dolphins and the Chesapeake Bay.

“We are excited to be using new technology that will enable everyone to help us understand more about dolphins,” said Tom Miller, director of UMCES’ Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. “Citizen science, such as the DolphinWatch tracker, is becoming more and more important and helps connect everyone to our work to protect, restore, and sustain the Bay.”

Bailey notes that changes in climate, improvements in water quality, and improvements in fish stocks upon which dolphins feed could be factors in a surge in dolphin sightings. She already has a few underwater microphones in the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers where they meet the Chesapeake Bay listening for the echolocation click sounds dolphins make. The data collected through Chesapeake DolphinWatch will help inform where to put more devices to help understand where the dolphins are going and where are feeding.

“People have been really excited to tell us about their sightings, but there was no easy way to report them before,” said Bailey. “Dolphins are very iconic, and they are in our backyard.”

More information on the DolphinWatch program is available on the UMCES website at www.umces.edu/dolphinwatch. Tag your photos of dolphins to @dolphinwatch_cb on Instagram.

Funding for ChesapeakeDolphinWatch.org was provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. http://www.umces.edu

Kenny Rose Joins UMCES Faculty as Professor in Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration

Dr. Kenneth A. Rose has joined the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory faculty as its first France-Merrick Foundation Professor in Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration.

The endowed professorship was established to maintain Maryland’s leadership in restoring our ecosystems in the face of growth and a changing climate. Dr. Rose will apply his expertise toward the restoration and sustainability of Maryland’s environment, including the nation’s largest and most important estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.

“We searched far and wide for someone with Dr. Rose’s scientific breadth and proven record of leadership to fill the Professorship,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Don Boesch. “I am certain that he will he will help our whole community of scientists contribute effectively to restoring ecosystems in a rapidly changing environment.”

Dr. Rose comes to UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory from the College of the Coast & Environment at Louisiana State University, where has been serving as Associate Dean for Research. He previously held the position of Abraham Distinguished Professor. He began his career as a research staff member at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to continue my career working with the faculty and staff of UMCES and with the graduate students in the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences program. The France-Merrick Professorship gives me an opportunity to greatly expand on existing—and make new—collaborations, and to teach and advise excellent students who are the next generation of scientists in ocean and marine sciences,” said Dr. Kenny Rose. “The Chesapeake Bay is an iconic system to work on, and I hope I can contribute to furthering its effective management and restoration and to exchange lessons learned with scientists, managers, and stakeholders at other ecosystems worldwide.”

Dr. Rose’s research centers on using mathematical and computer simulation modeling to predict and better understand fish population and food web dynamics in estuaries, lakes, reservoirs, and oceans.

“We are delighted to have a world-class scientist like Dr. Kenny Rose join our faculty,” said Mike Roman, Director of UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory. “His vast experience in ecosystem restoration will be a tremendous asset to improving and maintaining the health of Chesapeake Bay.”

Dr. Rose is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Fisheries Society and recently earned an Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement from the American Fisheries Society. He has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed publications and served on more than 30 national and international advisory committees and editorial boards.

He earned is Ph.D. and M.S. in fisheries from University of Washington, and his B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from State University of New York at Albany.

Numerous individuals and foundations matched a $750,000 grant from the France-Merrick Foundation to make the France-Merrick Foundation Professor in Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration possible. The endowment for this fund now stands at more than $1,700,000.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

Discover the Chesapeake Bay this Summer with Scientists from UMCES

The scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have a deep understanding of Chesapeake Bay, its value to the region, and by extension, to the public. Studying its rises and falls, its comebacks and creatures, has helped them to recommend best management practices to natural resource managers and elected officials that better serve our region, and have made our efforts in restoration world renowned.

Starting Monday, June 5, discover the Bay through the eyes of our scientists with a new YouTube series called “Discovering the Chesapeake.” Our scientists will talk about research studies they’re proud of and the impact they made, popular and oft-overlooked creatures that live in the Bay, and even the marvels of the Bay that have impacted them after years of research in the Chesapeake Bay’s waters and watershed.

Throughout the summer, you can visit the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s page on YouTube every Monday at noon for a new conversation.

Subscribe to our page at http://bit.ly/youtube-umces to receive notifications about new videos.

JUNE SCHEDULE

June 5:
Estuarine ecologist Walter Boynton on the disappearance—and return—of seagrasses in the Chesapeake Bay.

June 12:
Chemist Michael Gonsior on the Chesapeake Bay in relation to its neighbor Delaware Bay.

June 19:
Quantitative ecologist Matt Fitzpatrick on how growing up on in the Bay watershed led him to his research there

June 26:
Fisheries scientist Michael Wilberg on the mighty little fish menhaden.

July schedule to come.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu