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Atlantic Estuaries


To understand how the interactions between geology, land-use practices, and climate influence the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.


Eastern U.S. estuaries have common environmental problems: degraded water quality, loss of wetlands and riparian zones, sea-level rise, sedimentation, coastal erosion, declining fish and wildlife populations, loss of sub-aquatic vegetation, and increased algal blooms. Population growth, urban sprawl, intensified agriculture, and climate change exacerbate these. In order to mitigate these problems, the project is working to understand the ecological, physical, and chemical changes due to climate variability and anthropogenic factors, the influence of geology, and impacts of land-use changes in the area. Once completed in the Chesapeake Bay, these techniques can be transported to other mid-Atlantic estuaries.

Study Area:

Maryland, Virginia

Anticipated Uses:

Ecosystem Issues, Resources (Water)


Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (MD), Dartmouth College (NH), Duke University (NC), Johns Hopkins University (MD), Maryland Geological Survey, Office of Naval Research (VA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. National Park Service, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Rhode Island, University of Toledo (OH), Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MA)

Project Status:

Current NCGMP Funding

Project Duration:


Duration of NCGMP Funding:


Contact Information:

Project Chief: Debra A. Willard (Eastern Earth Surface Processes Team)
Phone: 703-648-5320

Related Links:

Project Website:

Fact Sheet: