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Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting

Scope and Purpose

The Scientific, Technical Assessment & Reporting (STAR) Team Purpose:

Increase collaboration among science providers to provide monitoring, modeling, and analysis needed to update, explain, and communicate ecosystem condition and change to support the Chesapeake Bay Program Goal Teams.

Function of STAR within the Chesapeake Bay Program Framework:

The new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement signed on June 16, 2014 will require additional monitoring, modeling, and analysis to help decision makers effectively achieve goals and associated outcomes. CBP science activities are coordinated through the STAR Team. Over the past several years, STAR had a heavy emphasis on water-quality activities as the partners implemented the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). To address the needs of the Watershed Agreement, STAR is evolving to have more of an ecosystem-based science mission.  The STAR Team serves the CBP as a science callaboration effort to include the following major functions:

  • Manage CBP-funded monitoring networks and coordinate with additional science providers to utilize expand networks to address the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
  • Ensure information quality, management, and access.
  • Update, and deliver, the status and trends (indicators) of ecosystem conditions.
  • Explain ecosystem condition and change.
  • Expand modeling to better understand and predict ecosystem response.
  • Coordinate climate change activities.
  • Synthesize and communicate results to support the CBP decision framework being used by the Goal Teams to develop and implement management strategies for the New Agreement.


STAR Workgroups:

Much of the technical expertise needed to address the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement already exists within the Goal Teams and with science providers (federal, state, and academic partners) involved in the CBP. The STAR Team facilitates collaboration between science providers and Goal Teams as well as work within the six STAR Workgroups to support the CBP priorities and assist with management decision making. Please visit the "Workgroups & Task Groups" tab for more information on individual workgroups and action teams. 

Building Environmental Intelligence (BEI):  (formerly BASIN)

STAR is currently facilitating a formal review of the CBP Monitoring Networks to recommend effort to sustain the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring in the face of funding uncertainty and inflationary pressures. BEI is a three phase process that delivered recommendations for a short-tmer funding GAP in 2013 and is moving forward to look at network design and opperational efficiencies as well as the potential for new partners in monitoring. 

STAR also hosts the IAN Seminar Series:

The goal of the IAN seminar series is to provide concise, thought-provoking ideas relating to Chesapeake Bay science and management. Short presentations (15 minutes maximum length) are immediately followed by a lunchtime discussion of the topics raised by the presenter. The discussion is summarized and is posted along with a pdf version of the seminar slides. The seminars are captured on video and posted under a Creative Commons license so they can be freely shared.

  • Mark Bennett (Co-Chair), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Bill Dennison (Co-Chair), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)
  • Scott Phillips (Co-Chair), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Peter Tango (Coordinator), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Kyle Hinson (Staff), Chesapeake Research Consortium
  • Melissa Merritt (Staff), Chesapeake Research Consortium

  • Greg Allen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Rich Batiuk, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Jennifer Greiner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Amy Handen, National Park Service (NPS)
  • Jeni Keisman, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Mary Ellen Ley, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Lewis Linker, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bruce Michael, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Scott Phillips, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Lucinda Power, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Kevin Sellner, Chesapeake Research Consortium, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
  • Gary Shenk, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Guy Stephens, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)
  • Renee Thompson, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Bruce Vogt, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • John Wolf, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Upcoming Events

    Conowingo Webinar


    Date / Time:

    October 20, 2016
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm


    Webinar Access: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/conowingo/

    This is the third in a series of webinars in preparation for the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team's face-to-face meeting. The webinar is hosted by a team of Conowingo experts, convened by the STAR Team and its Modeling Workgroup, on the lower Susquehanna River watershed and Conowingo Dam and Reservoir monitoring trends and early model scenario results to more fully understand the impacts to Chesapeake Bay water quality changes from the loss of the Dam’s trapping capacity. A presentation from the Modeling Workgroup on the proposed further assessment of Bay water quality impacts from Conowingo infill using the Partnership’s Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model and Chesapeake Bay Water Quality/Sediment Transport Model. This combination of enhanced modeling capability and explanation of long term monitoring trends will help inform upcoming Partnership decisions on Phase III WIP planning targets and expectations to offset additional loads from Conowingo Dam.

October 2016 Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting (STAR) Team Meeting


Joe Macknis Memorial Conference Room

Date / Time:

October 27, 2016
10:00 am - 1:00 pm


Monthly STAR meeting. Agenda soon to follow. Please see the agenda for more information.

Past Meetings & Events

  • September 27, 2012 - September STAR Meeting
  • July 26, 2012 - July STAR Meeting
  • June 28, 2012 - June STAR Meeting
  • March 29, 2012 - STAR March Meeting
  • February 23, 2012 - STAR Feburary Meeting
  • October 27, 2011 - October STAR Meeting
  • September 22, 2011 - STAR Topical Meeting
  • September 22, 2011 - STAR Topical Meeting
  • July 28, 2011 - STAR seminar
  • July 21, 2011 - July STAR Meeting
  • June 30, 2011 - June STAR Meeting
  • April 13, 2011 - STAR/WQGIT Topical Meeting
  • March 31, 2011 - March STAR Meeting
  • February 24, 2011 - February STAR Meeting
  • January 27, 2011 - STAR Meeting(CANCELLED)
  • December 21, 2010 - December STAR Conference Call
  • November 23, 2010 - November STAR Meeting
  • October 28, 2010 - October STAR Meeting
  • September 30, 2010 - September STAR Meeting
  • August 26, 2010 - STAR Meeting
  • April 22, 2010 - April STAR Meeting
  • March 25, 2010 - March STAR Meeting
  • February 25, 2010 - February STAR Meeting
  • January 28, 2010 - STAR Monthly Meeting
  • November 18, 2009 - STAR Meeting

  • Measure and Explain Water-Quality Changes

    Midpoint Assessment Priority Work Plan: Measure and Explain Water Quality Changes

    Lead: Scientific, Technical Analysis, and Report (STAR) Team

    Full Title of Priority: Enhanced Analysis and Explanation of Water-Quality Data for the TMDL Mid-Point Assessment

    The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) will enhance the analysis and explanation of monitoring information as part of the Mid-Point Assessment for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sediment (Bay TMDL).

    American Shad Indicator Action Team

    The American Shad Indicator Action Team (ASIAT) was assembled in summer 2012 as a joint effort between the Scientific and Technical Analysis and Reporting (STAR) Team and the Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team (Fisheries GIT). ASIAT’s purpose was to determine how to most accurately track the recovery progress of American Shad in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The ASIAT met seven times from August 2012 through August 2013 to review and update the Chesapeake Bay Program’s American Shad Abundance Indicator . In that time, the team added two new data sets to the indicator and updated the abundance targets for all Virginia tributaries based on historic population data. The team also agreed to a new weighting scheme for individual tributaries to calculate the Baywide shad abundance index. ASIAT may reconvene in late 2014 or 2015 to consider adding additional data to the indicator. Until then, Chesapeake Bay Program staff are working with ASIAT members to keep the indicator web page updated with the most recent data.

    Evolving the STAR Team to Better Meet the Science Needs of the Chesapeake Bay Program (2011)

    The purpose of this report is to provide an implementation plan for Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Scientific, Technical Assessment, and Reporting (STAR) team to expand its science capacity to better meet the needs of the Goal Implementation Teams (GITs). The plan provides a revised purpose and functions of STAR, based on an adaptive-management approach, and recommends actions for evolving the STAR to include a broader group of science providers and enhancing interaction with the GITs to address their science needs.

    Toxic Contaminants Action Team

    For many years, scientists and resource managers have recognized that exposure to toxiccontaminants can result in adverse effects on biological resources within the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. In 2010, the President’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order (EO 13508) Strategy directed Federal agencies to prepare a report summarizing information on the extent and severity of occurrence of toxic contamination in the Bay and its watershed. In responce to the Executive Order the Toxic Contaminants Action Team was charged with the task of developing this report. Findings in this report will be used by the CBP partnership to consider whether to adopt new goals for reducing inputs of toxic contaminants entering the Bay. This report also identifies research and monitoring gaps that could be considered to improve the understanding of the extent and severity occurrence of toxic contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. 

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