Why is it so important that we safeguard the nation’s largest estuary and its tributaries? The Chesapeake Bay Watershed supports more than 2,700 plant and animal species. In addition to all the plants and animals that rely on the Chesapeake Bay, more than 15 million people reside or work within the watershed. In 2012, the Service continued to conserve this important resource and its environment.
|The Chesapeake Bay watershed protects land for many species, including this important|
bald eagle habitat near Aberdeen Proving Ground. Credit: Leo Miranda/USFWS
|Clifford Branch dam before (top) and|
during removal (bottom).
Credit: Conor Bell/USFWS
In September, work began to remove the Clifford Branch dam, which once provided drinking water for the city of Frederick, Maryland. The city no longer needs it and the dam removal will open approximately three miles of habitat for brook trout, the only native trout in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Valued as a recreational fish, brook trout are also significant biologically. They require pristine, stable waterways and are indicators of good stream quality. The restoration project will remove the dam, remove/replace the inlet structure and return the adjacent stream to a stable, self-maintaining state.
The Service continued to support a strategy developed in 2011 to address sea-level rise, called the Southern Dorchester County Climate Adaptation Project that is working to facilitate marsh migration at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Since 1938, the Maryland refuge has lost 5,000 acres of brackish marsh and 3,000 upland acres have converted to brackish marsh. The goal of the project, which is a partnership among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund and Audubon Maryland/DC, is to maintain the ecological functions of the salt marsh somewhere on the landscape.
|Partners will work with Masonville to enhance|
existing environmental education programs and pursue
new ways to bring wildlife education to students and
citizens of the Baltimore area. Credit: Laurie Hewitt/USFWS
The Service continued to participate in Memorandum of Understandings with the National Park Service and the Chesapeake Conservancy to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.