Science Inventory

Using Ecosystem Services to Increase Progress Toward, and Quantify the Benefits of Multiple CBP Outcomes


Hanson, J., K. Brownson, E. Gilinsky, K. Gootman, W. Jenkins, R. Rossi, K. Saunders, L. Wainger, James Williams, AND S. Yee. Using Ecosystem Services to Increase Progress Toward, and Quantify the Benefits of Multiple CBP Outcomes. Chesapeake Research Consortium, Edgewater, MD, 2024.


The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) could benefit in multiple ways from a strategic plan to incorporate ecosystem services (ES) into its current decision framework, tools, and engagement with local partners. Multiple partners have expressed interest in guidance for applying ES information to enhance implementation of restoration and conservation activities and quantify diverse benefits. Such a plan will enable CBP to take advantage of ongoing efforts and new datasets to better identify, assess, and communicate the multiple benefits of restoration and conservation activities in the Bay watershed. We responded to a clear next step to bring together ES researchers and CBP partners to interact with a broad set of CBP stakeholders on how best to apply recent findings/data on ES for decision-making. This discussion can be used to develop a strategic plan to accelerate progress toward multiple CBP outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Within this context the workshop had two primary objectives: (1) have investigators engage with stakeholders on effective application of new ES results into tools and decision-making at multiple levels, and (2) develop recommendations for an actionable work plan of how ecosystem services can be used to address multiple CBP outcomes. This plan allows for the steering committee to provide recommendations for both short-term applications of ecosystem services into tools (between 2023-2025), as well as longer-term improvements based on research needs identified at the workshop. The purpose of the workshop was for experts to engage with stakeholders, gain insights into the specific ES and use cases that are of most importance and provide recommendations for a strategic plan to more effectively use ES to address multiple CBP outcomes through 2025 and beyond.


“Ecosystem services” are the benefits ecosystems provide to people. These benefits include providing food, clean air, clean water, recreation, and many other services that provide explicit or intrinsic values to people and communities. Investments in Chesapeake Bay restoration are typically designed to improve water quality, given the legal requirements of the Clean Water Act. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement sets goals that encompass a wide range of ecosystem services. A narrow focus on water quality can result in the implementation of practices and policies that maximize nutrient and sediment reductions at the expense of feasible alternatives that offer greater ecosystem services or multiple benefits to living resources and communities. This workshop was designed to gather input from a diverse array of stakeholders to help shape a coherent framework to identify impactful and durable ways to embed ecosystem services considerations in decision-making. This framework is critical to drive change for both the TMDL and for multiple lagging outcomes in the 2014 Watershed Agreement that provide ecosystem service benefits beyond water quality. As jurisdictions are doubling down on their efforts to meet the TMDL 2025 target date and large investments are being made in environmental restoration and conservation, there is an opportunity to work strategically to achieve a broader set of goals for ecosystems and communities.   The workshop was organized as three sessions between March 2023 and June 2023. Day 1 convened a blend of ecosystem services practitioners and decision-makers and featured several presentations describing ecosystem service tools, information and applications. Day 1.5 was added to include a broader diversity of perspectives and dive deeper into opportunities and barriers to ecosystem service accounting, ideas and tools to incorporate ecosystem services into decision-making, and to identify the best audiences for ecosystem services benefits. During Day 2 participants synthesized input from Days 1 and 1.5 into recommendations on how Bay Program partners and others can best achieve and incentivize multiple benefits as states and local decision makers implement WIPs, or other action plans.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:05/10/2024
Record Last Revised:05/13/2024
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 361420