Director’s Corner

Dear Colleagues,

Let me begin this quarter’s Director’s Corner with a mutually beneficial and brief request: Please help CRC to grow the value and influence of our consortium, and your work, by taking the following actions and encouraging other Bay-minded colleagues to do the same.

These tools help Chesapeake Bay regional scientists find, communicate and share recent publications with each other. Each of these items only takes a couple of minutes to complete and return an enormous value to you and the larger community.

I want to especially bring to your attention CRC’s newest initiative:  a digital bibliography of Chesapeake Bay research papers that we can share with CBED members — our collection of “Recent CRC Community Publications” (RCCP). As detailed elsewhere in this newsletter, we encourage you to see the RCCP web page to learn more about the simple submission process, the criteria for inclusion, and the value added that will come from final development of the RCCP collection, relative to services already available from other services such as Google Scholar or Web of Science.  Once it is developed, we intend to readily share the full electronic file of our bibliographic database with any CBED registrant in a format of their liking.  We believe that will be a valuable tool for managers toward finding  regional experts for scientific assistance on specific CBP goals, and for scientists toward finding regional collaborators and recent work from institutions and colleages get they know.   Together with CBED, this collection should help all CBP partners get to know each other better so we can develop and produce better science for management.

In terms of updates:  As most of you know, the past year has been an exceptionally busy one for the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Partnership owing to the combined whammies of (1) managing the 2017 mid-point assessment of its 15-year long TMDL implementation process; (2) suffering the slings and arrows of what I think we can all recognize as an outrageous proposed budget from the Executive Branch’s OMB; (3) working from within what I would personally characterize as a “dismantled and demoralized” situation at the national scale within both EPA and Congress , and (4) losing some very key personnel, including (among others) Nick DiPasquale (long-time CBP Director –see related article here) and Carl Cerco (long-time US Army Corps of Engineers scientist and chief architect of the CBP’s models for hydrodynamics, water quality, and sediment transport in the Chesapeake Bay).  Fortunately, the US EPA Chesapeake Bay Office remains robust and strong, so items 3 and 4 are unrelated – both retirements were for unrelated personal reasons and, in fact, both Carl and Nick are continuing to contribute mightily, from retirement, to the goals and mission of the CBP and CRC. (See articles in this newsletter about Nick Dipasquale; referencing the STAC WQSTM model review that Carl worked hard to inform; and about a major STAC “Model Visioning” workshop in January 2018,  for which Carl was one of about 60 highly engaged and active invited participants.

Also still strong are all of the other agencies and institutions active in the CBP Partnership, including NOAA, USGS, Fish & Wildlife, NASA, NPS, USCOE, and other federal agencies, as well as Bay State and DC departments of environmental quality and natural resources, and innumerable regional NGOs and academic institutions, including (importantly for me!) the CRC and its member institutions.  Please see the many Member News and CRC Updates articles in this issue to appreciate just some of these contributions.These include  CRC’s roles in coordinating the CBPs STAC activities and “Staffer” (EMCDP) activities, as very ably managed by CRC’s Rachel Dixon and Melissa Fagan, respectively.  In 2017, the CRC worked cooperatively with STAC experts (under EPA CBPO’s STAC support agreement) to oversee eight different STAC Reviews and to host seven different STAC workshops.

Also in this issue are articles describing the CRC-CCMP’s 2018 Chesapeake Research and Modeling Symposium (ChesRMS18) and developments under the EPA-CRC agreement to hire, mentor, and advise a new research scientist (Dr. Danny Kaufman) to assist the CBP with Optimization Tool Development.  Danny is working hard with other CBPO staff and other CBP partners, under advisement of CRC-coordinated team of advisors, to develop software that will help state and county jurisdictions in the future, as they continue to develop and update Watershed Implementation Plans for Bay protection under the TMDL process.

On the sadder side, I am sorry to report that a former director of the CRC and prior Director of JHU’s Chesapeake Bay Institute, Dr. M. Grant Gross Jr., has passed away. I unfortunately never had the occasion to meet Professor Gross, but from all that I have learned, he clearly made important impacts in sedimentology and oceanography, and,  through his leadership positions, inclusivity in science education.  I encourage you to read more in Paula Jasinski’s excellent piece about Grant’s life and scientific contributions.

Grant’s passing reminds us, however, that the CRC has a long and proud history.  It also has a bright future ahead and, with your help, can become more relevant and stronger than ever.  So I will end as I began, by repeating my request that you suggest to all of your Bay-minded colleagues that they should:

Best regards to you all and thank you for your involvement,

Bill Ball

February 6, 2018

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