Planting Bay Grasses

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Chesapeake Bay Program Indicator Framework
Reporting Level Indicators
Indicator and Data Survey

For each indicator for which you are responsible, please provide the following information.  This information will be made available to the developers of the reports, the reviewers of the reports and by members of the public who may request detailed information about the data used in the reports.  Please refer to the sample for examples of the level of detail that should be provided.
(PLEASE NOTE:  For indicators that do not have data (narrative info only for the March 2006 reports), complete as much of the survey as possible.  If possible, indicate plans for the development of data to be featured in the 2007 Reports.)

A.  Category/Name/Source/Contact

(1) Category of Indicator
___ Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health
 _x__ Restoration and Protection Efforts
 ___ Watershed Health
 __ _ Bay Health
(2) Name of Indicator: Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Planting In Chesapeake Bay

(3) Data Set Description: Acres of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation planted in Chesapeake Bay

 For what purpose(s) were the data collected? (e.g., tracking, research, or long-term monitoring.) Tracking & research
 Which parameters were measured directly? A) GPS coordinates of corners of planted areas, usually with a hand-held GPS with WAAS but not differential (accurate to about 15 feet) B) Counts of the number of seeds or shoots planted, usually from sub-samples of the total
 Which were obtained by calculation? Acreage planted calculated using GIS, based on the lat/longs of the corners of the planting area, and density planted 
(4) Source(s) of Data: Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Maryland DNR, Alliance Chesapeake Bay, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Anne Arundel Community College, Horn Point Lab/UMCES, and any other organizations doing large scale SAV planting in Ches. Bay

o Is the complete data set accessible, including metadata, data-dictionaries and embedded definitions?  If yes, please indicate where complete dataset can be obtained.  
Not in one place except the Excel file I sent to Nita & Ben; this is not fully documented yet.  Each organization keeps their own records and some have web sites giving details of the planting.  These web sites include:

1. Potomac & Patuxent, by MD DNR: 
2. Piankatank & other rivers, VIMS: (does not mention Piankatank work, however) 
3. Horn Point Lab/UMCES, and 
4. Alliance Chesapeake Bay

Some data issues are yet to be resolved, such as what minimum density of seeds or shoots is required to count an area as “planted.”  This will vary by species and propagule (seeds or shoots).

(5) Custodian of Source Data (and Indicator, if different): Scott Marion, VIMS; Lee Karrh, MD DNR: Steve Ailstock, AACC; ACB ; Laura Murray and Mike Kemp, Horn Point Lab/UMCES

(6) CBPO Contact:  Peter Bergstrom

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?
Tracking started in FY 2003; little or no large-scale restoration was done before that year.  Total to date (through 2009) is 157 acres.
(8a) How much was done last year?  About 9 acres in FY 2009
(9a) What is the current status in relation to a goal?  About 16% of goal.  
(10a) What does this indicator tell us?
Large-scale restoration of SAV in Chesapeake Bay is underway and making progress, but we still have a long way to go.  Both funding for SAV planting, and capacity for doing it, would have needed to be increased dramatically to meet the goal of 1,000 acres planted by 2008.  To date the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office and the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) have funded almost all of the large-scale planting, and neither agency has been able to increase the funding enough to meet the annual need.
(11a) Why is it important to report this information?

•Bay grasses are important because they produce oxygen, are food for a variety of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) is important to the Chesapeake Bay aquatic ecosystem.  SAV supports the Bay's health by: 
• generating food and habitat for waterfowl, fish, shellfish and invertebrates; 
• adding oxygen to the water column during photosynthesis; 
• filtering and trapping sediment that otherwise would bury benthic organisms and cloud the water column;
• inhibiting wave action that erodes shorelines; 
• and absorbing excess nutrients (which they require for growth), such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that may fuel the growth of unwanted algae in surrounding waters.  
Tracking their restoration is important because their current acreage is so much lower than historic levels, currently (2009) about 47% of the historically based goal.
(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) 
(8b) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend) 
(9b) What is the current status in relation to a goal?

(10b) What is the key story told by this indicator?  
(11b) Why is it important to report this information?
(12b) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?
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):  2003-present

(14) Planned Update Frequency (e.g. - annual, bi-annual):
 (a) Source Data:  annual
 (b) Indicator: annual

Note: this item needs to ask what YEAR is used for reporting.  For SAV acres planted we are using the Federal fiscal year (10/1-9/30) because virtually all of the funding to date has been Federal, so the acres planted need to be reported to the funding agencies by Federal FY.

(15) For annual reporting, month spatial data is available for reporting:  Federally funded projects are reported in October-November; schedule varies for other projects.  Hope to have annual update by 12/30 each year.
Note: You also need to ask for restoration projects, how PROJECT DATE was determined.  This is not a trivial issue, since it must be done consistently to make accurate annual totals.  For SAV planting this is the date planting was completed.  The same definition is used in NOAA’s Restoration Center Database (RCDB) and the National Estuaries Restoration Inventory (NERI) database that is based on the RCDB (see and  The same definition (project completion date) is used for fish passage projects.  However, some wetland planting programs count the acres as of the date the project was funded, and the actual planting may occur a year or more later.

D.  Spatial Considerations

(16) Type of Geography of Source Data (point, line polygon, other):
Point data from GPS for corners of area planted

(17) Acceptable Level of Spatial Aggregation (e.g. - county, state, major basin, tributary basin, HUC): As needed

(18) Are there geographic areas with missing data?  If so, where? Some investigators who did projects have not yet reported results.  Not sure where they all are.

(19) The spatial extent of this indicator best described as:
x(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. See DNR web site for maps at

(20) Can appropriate diagnostic indicators be represented geographically?  None

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?)  
Yes.  Point data collected by GPS is generally accepted as accurate enough for calculating area planted & project location.

(22) What is the process by which the raw data is summarized for development and presentation of the indicator?   
Main issue is to avoid counting the acres from the same project more than once.  Some questions are unresolved; for example, if an area is planted one year, and the same area is re-planted the following year to fill in gaps or replace plants that were lost, is that area counted once or twice?  
(23) Are any tools required to generate the indicator data (e.g. - Interpolator, watershed model) No (used Excel spreadsheet)

(24) Are the computations widely accepted as a scientifically sound? Yes. 

(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)?  Not applicable.

(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)

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?  No, not usually used for point location data.

If no, complete questions 28a – 28d:

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

(28b) What documentation clearly and completely describes the underlying sampling and analytical procedures used?  Please refer to the web site for each project; the most complete one is

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

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

(29) Are the descriptions of the study or survey design clear, complete and sufficient to enable the study or survey to be reproduced?  Yes. See answer for (28b)

(30) Were the sampling and analysis methods performed consistently throughout the data record?  Yes.

(31) If datasets from two or more agencies are merged, are their sampling designs and methods comparable? Yes—all reported the acres planted, lat/long of the center of the project area, date planted, species planted, & planting method

(32) Are uncertainty measurements or estimates available for the indicator and/or the underlying data set?  No, not really an issue.

(33) Do the uncertainty and variability impact the conclusions that can be inferred from the data and the utility of the indicator? No.

(34) Are there noteworthy limitations or gaps in the data record?  Please explain. No.

G.  Additional Information


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

Indicator does not track small-scale projects, so it undercounts the number of projects, their geographic distribution, and the range of different SAV species that are planted.  There are too many small-scale projects to track them for this indicator, and their total area each year is only a few acres.

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