ANNAPOLIS — An upgraded high-resolution data tool gives more in-depth looks at the Chesapeake Bay watershed and how the region is transforming.
The Chesapeake Bay Program — in collaboration with the Chesapeake Conservancy, University of Vermont and U.S. Geological Survey — has released high-resolution imagery showing land uses and land cover in the Bay region.
The data project’s latest release offers more high-resolution examinations of changes to small tracts of woods and other tree cover, large and small, throughout the six-state region.
The data covers 99,000 square miles across 206 counties.
The data and visuals also help track progress on Bay restoration efforts and water quality which in turn has economic impacts ranging from tourism to crab and oyster populations.
“These new data will help anyone who wants to do their part in protecting every corner of the watershed. There’s tremendous benefit in having data like this that can show the good and bad treatment of land so that we can make better decisions going forward,” Adam Ortiz, chair of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s staff committee and mid-Atlantic regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said in a news release.
The Chesapeake Bay Program includes representatives of six mid-Atlantic states along with the District of Columbia and federal agencies including the Pentagon and NASA focused on the health and restoration of the Bay.
The region includes New York, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
“For the first time, high-resolution change data is available for the Chesapeake as open data. This allows us to better understand what’s happening on the landscape and to do change detection and trend analysis,” Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, said in the news release.
“The significance of this cannot be understated,” he said. “For those of us working to restore the Chesapeake, this is practically the James Webb Space Telescope moment.”
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