Home > Explore Data & Reports > Coastal ecosystem assessment of Chesapeake Bay watersheds: A story of three rivers, the Corsica, Magothy, and Rhode


Leight, A., J. Jacobs, L. Gonsalves, G. Messick, S. McLaughlin, J. Lewis, J. Brush, E. Daniels, M. Rhodes, L. Collier, and B. Wood. 2014. Coastal ecosystem assessment of Chesapeake Bay watersheds: A story of three rivers, the Corsica, Magothy, and Rhode. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 189. Oxford, MD. 93 pp.

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


This assessment explored linkages between land use and aquatic ecosystem health. Three watersheds (Corsica, Magothy, and Rhode rivers) with variable dominant land-use patterns (agriculture, suburban/residential, and mixed-use, respectively) were examined. The health of each habitat was assessed using a suite of observations focused on water quality and the health of aquatic organisms. Standard water quality metrics such as dissolved oxygen concentration, dissolved nitrogen/phosphorous concentration and water clarity were measured. Organismal health parameters included metrics of fish and shellfish growth, disease prevalence and severity, fish abundance, and species diversity. By analyzing these indicators of ecosystem health and their relationship to human activities within the surrounding watershed, this assessment provides insight into the trade-offs between development on land and aquatic ecosystem health.

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