Black-and-white aerial photography at a scale of 1:24,000 was the principal
source of information used to assess distribution and abundance of SAV
in Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and the Delmarva Peninsula coastal
bays from Assawoman Bay to Magothy Bay in 2011. There were 160 flight lines
that yielded aerial photography negatives that were scanned and orthorectified to create orthophoto mosaics. These mosaics were carefully examined on-screen and outlines were drawn to identify
all SAV beds visible on the photography, providing a
geographic information system (GIS) digital database for analysis of bed
areas and locations.Ground survey information collected in 2011 was tabulated and
entered into the VIMS SAV GIS digital database.
However, while the entire Bay was flown, some portions of the Bay were not mapped since SAV signatures were masked by excess turbidity present months after the passage of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The regions that were not mapped are contained within nine CBP
segments, including the Middle, Upper and Western Branch of the Patuxent
River; the Middle and Upper Potomac River; Piscataway Creek; and the
The aerial photography is carefully examined to identify all visible SAV beds. Photographs covering SAV beds are scanned and orthorectified to create orthophoto mosaics. Outlines of SAV beds are then interpreted on-screen, providing a digital database for analysis of bed areas and locations. Ground survey information collected in 2011
is tabulated and entered into the SAV geographic information system (GIS).
SAV distribution data are presented and discussed based on the 2003 revised Chesapeake
Bay Program (CBP) segmentation
and zonation scheme (DAWG,
1997). This segmentation scheme is mapped, listed by salinity regime, and delineated descriptively.
The CBP Segmentation scheme defines 93 segments that are grouped into
three zones for this report. The Upper Bay Zone includes the Susquehanna River and extends to the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge; the Middle Bay Zone extends to the southern boundaries
of CB5MH, TANMH, and POCMH; the Lower Bay Zone extends to the mouth of
Chesapeake Bay and includes the James River. The salinity within
each zone roughly coincides with the major salinity zones of estuaries:
polyhaline Lower Zone (18-25 ppt), mesohaline Middle Zone (5-18 ppt); oligohaline
Upper Zone (0.5-5 ppt). Although the major rivers and smaller tributaries
of Chesapeake Bay have their own salinity regimes, each river is included within the zone where it connects to the
SAV distribution in the Delmarva Peninsula coastal bays is presented and discussed separately from Chesapeake Bay. A fourth zone, the Delmarva Peninsula Coastal Bays Zone, is defined to include the region from Assawoman Bay to Magothy Bay and is subdivided into five segments: Assawoman, Isle of Wight, Sinepuxent, Chincoteague, and Southern Virginia coastal bays.