Habitats and Lower Food Web

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Bay Grass Abundance

Phytoplankton

Bottom Habitat

Tidal Wetlands Abundance

Metadata

Chesapeake Bay Program Indicator Framework

Reporting Level Indicators

Indicator and Data Survey

A.  Category/Name/Source/Contact

(1) Category of Indicator

___ Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health

___ Restoration and Protection Efforts

___ Watershed Health

_x__ Bay Health

(2) Name of Indicator: Bay Habitats and Lower Food Web Top Level Index

(3) Description of Dataset used to calculate percent of goal achieved:  

The most up-to-date monitoring data gathered by Bay Program partners are used to provide a scientifically based assessment of the Bay’s habitats and lower food web.

The Habitats and Lower Food Web Index incorporates scores for the following indicators:

• Bay Grasses 

• Phytoplankton (Phytoplankton Index of Biotic Integrity, PIBI)

• Bottom Habitat (Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity, BIBI)

Percent achievement values for each indicator assessed in this category were averaged to create the index score. Values for indicators whose goal achievement status could not be quantified this year will be incorporated into the averages for the index in future reports.

For what purpose(s) were the data collected? (e.g., tracking, research, or long-term monitoring.) Tracking progress towards a goal and long-term monitoring.  The most up-to-date monitoring data gathered by Bay Program partners are used to provide a scientifically based assessment of the Bay’s habitats and lower food web.

Which parameters were measured directly? Percent goal achievement values for the component indicators are based on directly measured, monitored information. 

Which were obtained by calculation?  Percent achievement values for each indicator assessed in this category were averaged to create the index score.  Each indicator was assigned equal weight. Values for indicators whose goal achievement status could not be quantified this year will be incorporated into the averages for the index in future reports. 

(4) Source(s) of Data: Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators.

Underwater Bay Grass Abundance: www.chesapeakebay.net/status_baygrasses.aspx

Bottom Habitat (Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity):  www.chesapeakebay.net/status_phytoplankton.aspx

Phytoplankton (Index of Biotic Integrity): www.chesapeakebay.net/status_bottomhabitat.aspx

Is the complete data set accessible, including metadata, data-dictionaries and embedded definitions?  If yes, please indicate where complete dataset can be obtained.   Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators.

(5) Custodian of Source Data (and Indicator, if different): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators (urls listed in item 4, above).

(6) CBPO Contact:Nita Sylvester (sylvester.nita@epa.gov)

B.  Communication Questions

(complete either part 1, 2, or 3)

1.  Restoration and Protection Efforts indicators only

(7a) How much has been completed since 1985 (or baseline year)?  How much has been completed since 2000?

(8a) How much was done last year?

(9a) What is the current status in relation to a goal?

(10a) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11a) Why is it important to report this information?

(12a) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator? (Detail and diagnostic indicators can be spatially-specific, parameter-specific, temporally-specific information, etc.)

2.  Bay Health or Watershed Health indicators only

(7b) What is the long-term trend?  (Since start of data collection) The Habitats and Lower Food Web Index score increased from 41 percent to 52.2 percent of goal achieved, 1996-2009.

(8b) What is the short-term trend? (10-year trend)  Between 2000 and 2009, the Habitats and Lower Food Web Index score increased from 44.5 percent to 52.2 percent of goal achieved.

(9b) What is the current status in relation to a goal?  The Bay’s habitat and lower food web is measured with 4 indicators.  Quantitative restoration goals have been set for three of these indicators. When all of the goals are reached, it should mean restored habitat and lower food web.  

Overall, the vital habitats and lower food web that support life in the Chesapeake Bay continued to be in bad shape in 2009, meeting 52 percent of the goals, a seven percent increase from 2008. 

(10b) What does this indicator tell us?  Overall, the vital habitats and lower food web that support life in the Chesapeake Bay continued to be in bad shape in 2009, meeting 52 percent of the goals, a seven percent increase from 2008.

(11b) Why is it important to report this information?  

For life to thrive in the Chesapeake Bay, high-quality food sources and habitats are required. Clams and worms need an unpolluted environment at the bottom of the Bay. Abundant underwater grasses and wetlands are vital to juvenile fish and crabs. For all aquatic life to flourish, the algae that make up the foundation of the food web must be of the proper type and in the right amounts. The health and abundance of these animals and habitats are gauges of the Bay’s health.

The indicators in this section show that more underwater grasses and wetlands are needed both for habitat and for their ability to filter pollution. Bottom habitat in the Bay and the health of algae must improve.

(12b) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this top level index?

Underwater Bay Grass Abundance

Phytoplankton (Index of Biotic Integrity)

Bottom Habitat (Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity)

3.  Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health indicators only

(7c) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection)

(8c) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)

(9c) What is the current status?

(10c) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11c) Why is it important to report this information?

(12c) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?

C.  Temporal Considerations

(13) Data Collection Date(s):  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(14) Planned Update Frequency (e.g. - annual, bi-annual): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(a) Source Data:

(b) Indicator:

(15) For annual reporting, month data is available for reporting: Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

D.  Spatial Considerations

(16) Type of Geography of Source Data (point, line polygon, other): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(17) Acceptable Level of Spatial Aggregation (e.g. - county, state, major basin, tributary basin, HUC): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(18) Are there geographic areas with missing data?  If so, where? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(19) The spatial extent of this indicator best described as:

(a) Chesapeake Bay (estuary)

(b) Chesapeake Bay Watershed

(c) Other (please describe): _______________________

Please submit any appropriate examples of how this information has been mapped or otherwise portrayed geographically in the past.

(20) Can appropriate diagnostic indicators be represented geographically? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

E.  Data Analysis and Interpretation

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(21) Is the conceptual model used to transform these measurements into an indicator widely accepted as a scientifically sound representation of the phenomenon it indicates?  (i.e., how well do the data represent the phenomenon?)  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(22) What is the process by which the raw data is summarized for development and presentation of the indicator?   Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(23) Are any tools required to generate the indicator data (e.g. - Interpolator, watershed model) Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(24) Are the computations widely accepted as a scientifically sound? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(25) Have appropriate statistical methods been used to generalize or portray data beyond the time or spatial locations where measurements were made (e.g., statistical survey inference, no generalization is possible)?  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(26) Are there established reference points, thresholds or ranges of values for this indicator that unambiguously reflect the desired state of the environment? (health/stressors only) Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

F.  Data Quality

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(27) Were the data collected according to an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Plan?  

If no, complete questions 28a – 28d:  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(28a) Are the sampling design, monitoring plan and/or tracking system used to collect the data over time and space based on sound scientific principles? 

(28b) What documentation clearly and completely describes the underlying sampling and analytical procedures used?  

(28c) Are the sampling and analytical procedures widely accepted as scientifically and technically valid? 

(28d) To what extent are the procedures for quality assurance and quality control of the data documented and accessible? 

(29) Are the descriptions of the study or survey design clear, complete and sufficient to enable the study or survey to be reproduced? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(30) Were the sampling and analysis methods performed consistently throughout the data record? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(31) If datasets from two or more agencies are merged, are their sampling designs and methods comparable? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(32) Are uncertainty measurements or estimates available for the indicator and/or the underlying data set?  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(33) (Do the uncertainty and variability impact the conclusions that can be inferred from the data and the utility of the indicator? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(34) Are there noteworthy limitations or gaps in the data record?  Please explain. Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

G.  Additional Information

(optional)

(35) Please provide any other information about this indicator you believe is necessary to aid communication and any prevent potential miss-representation.

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