Over the last decade, thousands of stream samples have been collected to help us determine the physical, chemical and biological health of our waterways. This information is also used to generate a Chesapeake Bay-wide indicator of stream health: the Chesapeake Bay-wide Index of Biotic Integrity, or Chessie BIBI. In 2010, the Chessie BIBI ranked 43 percent of streams in fair, good or excellent condition and 57 percent in poor or very poor condition. Experts are working to refine the Chessie BIBI and update the index with more recent data. Experts are also working to establish a baseline from which to measure progress toward the stream miles portion of this outcome. Both of these updates are expected in September of 2016.

Interactive Chart

Stream Health (2000-2010)

Average Indicator of Biotic Integrity Ratings of 10,000+ Sampling Sites

Interactive Map

Stream Health: Average Indicator of Biotic Integrity Ratings of 10,000+ Sampling Sites (2000-2010)

Restoring the health of rivers and streams benefits fish, wildlife and people, and is a key step toward improving water quality in the Bay.

Management Strategy

To achieve this outcome, Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to:

  • Identifying an appropriate suite of metrics to measure the multiple facets of stream health and complement the Chesapeake Bay-wide Index of Biotic Integrity (or Chessie BIBI);
  • Developing and promoting holistic stream restoration design guidelines;
  • Providing financial and technical resources to support a functional lift in stream restoration projects;
  • Improving coordination with stakeholders (e.g., natural resource agencies, stream and wetland permitting authorities, researchers, designers, local governments and non-profit organizations) to facilitate and expand local participation in stream restoration; and
  • Enhancing the capacity of local governments, organizations and landowners to restore and maintain stream health.

Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through data related to physical, chemical and biological stream conditions and stream function.

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome was reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in May of 2017.

Work Plan

Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking a series of specific actions that will support the management approaches listed above.

Participating Partners

The Vital Habitats Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Water Quality and Healthy Watersheds goal implementation teams.

Participating partners include:

  • State of Delaware
  • Maryland Department of the Environment (State of Maryland)
  • Johns Hopkins University (State of Maryland)
  • Maryland Water Quality Monitoring Council (State of Maryland)
  • Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee (State of Maryland)
  • University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (State of Maryland)
  • State of New York
  • Franklin & Marshall College (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Commonwealth of Virginia)
  • State of West Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • 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
  • American Rivers
  • Center for Watershed Protection
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust
  • Ecosystem Restoration and Planning, LLC
  • Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
  • Maryland Stream Restoration Association
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Severn Riverkeeper
  • Stroud Research Center