• Progress

    This outcome targets habitats that fish and shellfish use at critical points in their life histories. Due to the range of areas that comprise fish habitat and the existing gaps in our understanding of which habitats offer the highest value for fish reproduction, feeding, growth or refuge, there is no established baseline for this outcome at this time.

    Fish and shellfish rely on a range of habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, many of which are threatened by pollution, development and other stressors. Knowing where these habitats are located and addressing threats to their integrity will be critical to supporting healthy fish populations.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the fish habitat outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Developing a set of criteria to identify high-value fish habitat;
    • Mapping and targeting high-value fish habitat for conservation and restoration;
    • Developing thresholds to set clear conservation targets;
    • Communicating the importance of fish habitat;
    • Evaluating ways to enhance fish habitat protection; and
    • Identifying and prioritizing threats to fish habitat and proposing actions to manage them.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the brook trout, blue crab abundance, blue crab management, climate adaptation, climate monitoring and assessment, fish passage, forage fish, healthy watersheds, land use methods and metrics development, land use options evaluation, oysters, public access, stream health, submerged aquatic vegetation, toxic contaminants research, toxic contaminants policy and prevention, and water quality standards attainment and monitoring outcomes.

    Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through jurisdictions’ existing fish and habitat monitoring programs. New or expanded monitoring programs (to include early life stage and shallow-water fish monitoring) are under consideration. In addition, benthic habitat, land use and water quality data may be integrated and synthesized to help identify and target high-value fish habitat.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.

    Completed actions from the work plan include:

    • In December 2015, the Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team (with support from Tetra Tech) developed a detailed literature review of the habitat requirements and threats for 13 lesser studied Chesapeake Bay species. These requirements and threats have been organized into two matrices: one matrix of habitat requirements and threats for all 13 species, and one matrix of habitat requirements and threats for the egg to larval life stages of these species.
    • In July 2016, the Fish Habitat Action Team published an inventory of tools, maps and datasets related to fish habitat.
    • In April 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office published a research summary on the impacts of hardened shorelines on aquatic resources.
    • The Fish Habitat Action Team has received funding for a workshop that will identify representative species for different habitats in the tidal and non-tidal Chesapeake Bay. Using these representative species, experts will evaluate the factors that influence habitat function and provide criteria to qualify these factors’ significance.
  • Participating Partners

    The Sustainable Fisheries and Vital Habitats goal implementation teams lead the effort to achieve this outcome. They work in partnership with the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team.

    Participating partners include:

    • Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (State of Delaware)
    • Maryland Department of the Environment (State of Maryland)
    • Maryland Department of Natural Resources (State of Maryland)
    • New York Department of Environmental Conservation (State of New York)
    • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
    • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
    • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Virginia Marine Resources Commission (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Department of Energy and Environment (District of Columbia)
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Marine Fisheries Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
    • Natural Resources Conservation Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • U.S. Geological Survey
    • Atlantic Coast Fish Habitat Partnership
    • Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission