, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Assessment of Chesapeake Bay Program Selection and Use of Indicators

  • Carl HershnerEmail author
  • Kirk Havens
  • Donna Marie Bilkovic
  • Denice Wardrop
Wetlands Health Indicators


A taxonomy of environmental indicators was developed to inform management of aquatic ecosystems, and its utility was evaluated through application within the Chesapeake Bay Program. We considered a set of 82 metrics generated by this Program, using qualitative assessment of descriptive materials. We found that 30 of these metrics conveyed sufficient information about the larger system to be considered true indicators. These 30 were classified according to the proposed taxonomy into one or more of five types: condition, evaluation, diagnostic, communication, or futures. We also evaluated the scales at which these indicators function temporally and spatially. We conclude that only a limited number of indicators are designed to be diagnostic and/or designed to forecast future conditions. The scale analyses suggest the indicator set is not focused on local scales and/or the watershed component of the Bay system. The taxonomy succeeds in framing an assessment of existing indicator sets that can productively guide future development efforts.


environmental indicators taxonomy Chesapeake Bay Program 



This research has been supported by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Estuarine and Great Lakes (EaGLe) program through funding to the Atlantic Slope Consortium, U.S. EPA agreement R-82868401. Although the research described in this article has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it has not been subjected to the Agency’s required peer and policy review and, therefore, does not reflect the view of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Ecohealth Journal Consortium 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Hershner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kirk Havens
    • 1
  • Donna Marie Bilkovic
    • 1
  • Denice Wardrop
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Coastal Resources ManagementVirginia Institute of Marine ScienceGloucester PointUSA
  2. 2.Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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