The Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team works to keep local watersheds healthy across a range of landscapes, bringing attention to the challenge of protecting streams and watersheds that are healthy today and restoring waters if they become degraded. An updated map of State-Identified Healthy Waters and Watersheds and progress toward the Maintain Healthy Watersheds goal can be viewed at Chesapeake Progress

Upcoming Meetings

Scope and Purpose

The goal of the Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team (HWGIT) is to maintain local watersheds at optimal health across a range of landscape contexts. With this goal, the HWGIT intends to bring attention to the challenge of protecting streams and watersheds that are healthy today, as a programmatic complement to the “impaired waters” approach which focuses on restoring waters if they become degraded. Healthy watersheds sustain local social, economic, and environmental benefits at optimal levels and contribute to achievement of Chesapeake Bay Program goals for the tidal Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The optimal levels at which such benefits are sustainable will depend upon the landscape context of the watershed.

The principle rational for setting the Healthy Watersheds goal is that balanced strategies for natural resource restoration, protection, investment, and management are necessary to achieve a sustainably restored Chesapeake Bay. Conserving natural resources is a more cost-effective strategy to achieve Chesapeake Bay water quality goals. In addition, maintaining healthy local watersheds is more meaningful to communities since the majority of citizens are more likely to be concerned about the health of their local streams than the Chesapeake Bay.

The HWGIT has identified four strategies to ensure the long-term conservation of healthy watersheds: 1) tracking the health of watersheds and our effectiveness in protecting them, 2) strengthening local commitment and capacity to protect healthy watersheds, 3) improving protection of state-identified healthy watersheds under federal programs and federal agency decision-making, and 4) supporting state-based efforts to improve assessment and protection of healthy watersheds.

Projects and Resources

Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment 2.0

In 2021, Chesapeake Bay Program partners funded the development of a Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment 2.0 (CHWA 2.0) application. CHWA 2.0 is built on the foundation of CHWA 1.0 and the Maryland Healthy Watersheds Assessment. CHWA 2.0 uses a random forest model with 60 unique metrics and the Chessie BIBI to predict health conditions for all 83,629 catchments (NHD+ v2.1) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This new application can be used to investigate watershed conditions and vulnerabilities within state-identified healthy watersheds and throughout the Bay watershed. To learn more, open the CHWA 2.0 tool or download the report and informational fact sheet below.

Click here to access the CHWA 2.0 tool.

Click here to download CHWA 2.0 data.

Maryland Healthy Watershed Assessment

In 2020, the Maryland Healthy Watershed Assessment (MDHWA) was funded through a Goal Implementation Team Funding project. Development of the MDHWA establishes a framework of watershed health and vulnerability metrics for assessing Maryland waters and watersheds. Development of this statewide assessment built upon the previously completed Chesapeake Bay Healthy Watersheds Assessment (CHWA) (Roth et al. 2020). The assessment is intended to inform watershed management decision-making to sustain the health of state-identified healthy watersheds, which have been defined in Maryland as the watersheds associated with its designated high-quality, Tier II waters. The MDHWA will increase State capacity to better understand the broad spectrum of health and vulnerability issues affecting Maryland’s streams and healthy watersheds. The MDHWA will also serve as a model that can be replicated in other jurisdictions and updated in future assessments.

Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment

In 2017, the EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Program published the results of their Preliminary Healthy Watersheds Assessments (PHWA), a project that brought together nationally consistent data to assess watershed health and vulnerability. The HWGIT agreed that a similar regional assessment utilizing jurisdiction specific data could address major gaps identified in the Healthy Watershed’s Management Strategy. Building on the PHWA framework, HWGIT contracted Tetra Tech to complete a Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment (CHWA) to help partners identify “signals of change” in vulnerable or resilient healthy waters and watersheds. The final report was published in 2019 and is available below. In order to visualize the results, Innovate!, Inc. developed an application to facilitate exploration of the data. The readily available online, geospatial tool supports and informs management related to watershed health and vulnerability at the catchment scale. See the flyer and report below to read more.

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Publications

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Watershed Agreement

Members

Jeff Lerner (Chair), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Address:
Washington, District of Columbia 20460

Email:  lerner.jeffrey@epa.gov
Jason Dubow (Vice Chair), Maryland Department of Planning
Address:
 301 West Preston Street
Suite 1101
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Email:  jason.dubow@maryland.gov
Phone:  (410) 767-3370
Peter Claggett (Coordinator), Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  pclagget@chesapeakebay.net
Phone:  (410) 267-5771
Sophie Waterman (Staffer), GIS Analyst, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  swaterman@chesapeakebay.net
Phone:  (410) 267-5704
Dan Murphy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Address:
177 Admiral Cochrane Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  dan_murphy@fws.gov
Phone:  (410) 573-4521
Bill Jenkins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 3
Address:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Email:  jenkins.bill@epa.gov
Phone:  (215) 814-2911
John Wolf, GIS Team Lead, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  jwolf@chesapeakebay.net
Phone:  (410) 267-5739
Scott Stranko, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Address:
580 Taylor Avenue
Tawes State Office Building C2
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  scott.stranko@maryland.gov
Phone:  (410) 260-8603
Todd Janeski, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Address:
Central Office - Zincke Bldg
203 Governor St
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Email:  Todd.Janeski@dcr.virginia.gov
Phone:  (804) 371-8984
Amy Handen, Local Implementation Programs Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  handen.amy@epa.gov
Phone:  (410) 267-5793
Mark Hoffman, Chesapeake Bay Commission
Address:
60 West Street
Suite 406
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  mhoffman@chesbay.us
Phone:  (410) 263-3420
Lauren Townley, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Address:
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233

Email:  lauren.townley@dec.ny.gov
Phone:  (518) 402-8283
Kelly Maloney, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Address:
11649 Leetown Rd
Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430

Email:  kmaloney@usgs.gov
Laura Cattell Noll, Local Government Advisory Committee Coordinator, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Address:
841 Flory Mill Rd
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601

Email:  lnoll@allianceforthebay.org
Phone:  (443) 949-0575
Katie Brownson, Watershed Specialist, U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  Katherine.Brownson@usda.gov
Steve Epting, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Address:
1650 Arch St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

Email:  epting.steve@epa.gov
Julie Reichert-Nguyen, Climate Resiliency Workgroup Coordinator, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
Address:
200 Harry S Truman Parkway Suite 460
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  julie.reichert-nguyen@noaa.gov
Cassandra Davis, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Address:
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233

Email:  cassandra.davis@dec.ny.gov
Ben Coverdale, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Address:
285 Beiser Blvd, Suite 102
Dover, Delaware 199904

Email:  Michael.Coverdale@delaware.gov
Deborah Herr Cornwell, Maryland Department of Planning
Address:
301 W. Preston Street, Suite 1101
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Email:  deborah.herrcornwell@maryland.gov
Julia Wakeling, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE)
Address:
1200 First St NE
Washington D.C., District of Columbia 20002

Email:  julia.wakeling@dc.gov
Erik Fisher, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Address:
114 S. Washington Street
Suite 103
Easton, Maryland 21601

Email:  efisher@cbf.org
Phone:  (410) 543-1999
Mindy Neil, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Address:
601 57th St SE
Charleston, West Virginia 25304

Email:  Mindy.S.Neil@wv.gov
Shane Kleiner, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Address:


Email:  shkleiner@pa.gov
Sarah McDonald, Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Address:
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Email:  smcdonald@chesapeakebay.net