Land Use: Bay Research Projects

Title UMD Researcher Description
Squeezed From All Sides: Urbanization, Invasive Species, and Climate Change Threaten Function of Riparian Forest Buffers Lea R. Johnson, Tara T. Trammell, Tracie Bishop, Jim Bardsley, Joseph Sullivan Forests along coastal urban streams are located at the nexus of three global change processes: urbanization, spread of invasive species, and rising waters. To address these challenges and inform new approaches to integrated management, we have identified urban riparian forests that are vulnerable to urbanization, invasive species, and sea level rise impacts, and assessed the potential of these combined stresses to alter riparian ecosystem function and health as first essential step in understanding the extent to which urban riparian forests are vulnerable and identify management strategies to improve stream health and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 
Novel uses of turfgrasses on horse farms to reduce soil erosion.  Amy Burk, Tom Turner Horses are heavy-bodied selective grazers that can kill traditional grass pasture in heavily trampled areas resulting in soil erosion.  Turfgrasses may be suitable alternatives to pasture grasses because they were developed to withstand heavy foot traffic and tolerant to close mowing.  The objective of this study was to evaluate the wear tolerance, nutritional value, and palatability of 14 cool- and warm-season (CS) turfgrasses and to investigate their suitability as alternative ground cover on horse farms. Converting bare soil on horse farms into areas of dense vegetation will reduce sediment run-off into the Chesapeake Bay.
Enhancing the sustainability of US cropping systems through cover crops and innovative information and technology systems. Lead PI: Reberg-Horton at North Carolina State University and S Mirsky at USDA-ARS.  Co-PIs: Northeast Cover Crop Council (M Ryan at Cornell, K Tully at UMD, H Schomberg, K Balcomb, D Fleisher, M Cavigelli, and D Timlin at USDA-ARS, et al.); Midwestern Cover Crop Council (A Basche, J McMechan, S Wortman at UNL, et al.); Southern Cover Crop Council (J Gaskin and J Thompson at U of Georgia, H Poffenbarfer at U Kentucky, et al.); Industry partners (T Butler at Noble Foundation, B Salas at Applied GeoSolutions) There is a need to integrate knowledge-intensive sustainable agricultural practices into a precision framework to maximize farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability at a national scale. This is accomplished through the use of an information ecology that connects farms, data, tools, and people for optimal, real-time decisions.
Cover crops: the cornerstone of water management in the face of increasing demand and climate change Lead PI: Reberg-Horton at North Carolina State University Co-PI: K Tully at UMD, S Mirsky, H Schomberg, K Balcomb, D Fleisher, L Duzy, and D Timlin at USDA-ARS, J Gaskin and M Cabrera at U of Georgia, T Butler at Noble Foundation, J Thompson, R Stockwell at National Wildlife Federation Despite the potentially transformative benefits of cover crop-based no-till production for increasing water and food security, adoption remains low in the US. The goal of this project is to increase understanding of cover crop management, impacts on water use efficiency and groundwater returns, and potential adoption across the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern US to enhance water and food security.
Building coastal resiliency: adapting cropping systems to saltwater intrusion to balance economic viability and environmental health Lead PI: K Tully at UMD The Mid-Atlantic and northeastern US regions are experiencing some of the highest rates of sea-level rise in the world, and particularly affected are the low-lying lands of the Coastal Plain. The leading edge of sea-level rise is saltwater intrusion, but we have little understanding of the extent and nature of saltwater intrusion on the eastern shore of Maryland. The goal of this project is to (1) produce maps of the potential extent of saltwater intrusion, (2) understand the relationship between saltwater intrusion and soil carbon stabilization, and (3) test a variety of crops for saltwater intrusion tolerance.
Thriving Agricultural Systems in Urban Landscapes Gurpal Toor, Ray Weil, Suzanne Dorsey (now MDE), with Penn State and others This project seeks to create economically thriving and environmentally beneficial agricultural systems in urbanized landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Innovative Manure Management Strategies to Promote Phosphorus Balance and Sustain Agriculture on the Delmarva Peninsula Gurpal Toor (UMD), with University of Delaware and Virginia Tech This project integrates research, extension, and educational activities to address phosphorus (P) imbalance on the Delmarva Peninsula. Our overarching premise is that better distribution and utilization of poultry litter on low P soils in the Delmarva can help improve grain yields, help achieve P balance in the region, and reduce farmer and stakeholder concerns about water quality impairment due to excessive P loss from P saturated soils.
Increasing Resilience to Sea Level Rise in Coastal Maryland Brian Needelman (ENST), Michael Paolisso (Anthropology), Sasha Land (MD DNR) Investigators from the University of Maryland have partnered with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to form the Deal Island Peninsula Project to increase the resilience of coastal marsh and communities on Maryland's Deal Island Peninsula in the face of sea level rise. The project works with a wide diversity of stakeholders developing restoration and adaptation approaches to increase the resilience of habitats and communities on the peninsula.
Price-based policies for managing residential development and impacts to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay David Newburn, Doug Wrenn, and Allen Klaiber We estimate a spatial model of residential subdivision development in the Baltimore metro region to analyze policy scenarios for future urban growth. We combine the model of residential land conversion with the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) watershed model to examine how price-induced changes in residential development patterns impact nitrogen and phosphorus loading in the Baltimore metro region.
Incentives for lawn management and fertilizer reduction to improve water quality David Newburn, Robert Johnston We are planning to conduct a survey of 10,000 households later this summer in the Baltimore metro region to examine lawn care and fertilizer usage. We will model household responses to incentives to reduce lawn fertilizer and the adoption of stormwater management practices.
Extending the Growing Season to Get More Payback from Cover Crops (Md Soybean Board) Ray Weil and PhD student Nathan Sedghi. Even though Maryland leads the country in cover cropped acres, most of our farmers still have a long way to go toward optimizes cover crop management and performance. Adopting techniques such as interseeding that allow planting a few weeks earlier in fall can make a huge difference in the amount of nitrogen leaching over the winter. Other techniques, such as planting green, can allow cover
Phosphorus Runoff from No-till Soils - Do Cover Crops Make It Better or Worse (Md Soybean Board) Ray Weil with undergrad ENST students. We know that early planted cover crops dramatically reduce N leaching over the winter, but when cove crops are killed the phosphorus they contain may be released and lost in runoff, but the reduction in runoff may more than counteract this. The balance is still unknown.
Forest Soil Quality Monitoring (Dept. of Interior, National Park Service) Ray Weil and MS student Dan Colopietro. We collaborated with the National Park Service to monitor soil health at 418 forested sites in Chesapeake Bay watershed regional parks. We measured the soil organic carbon in the upper 1 m of soil to estimate baseline C stocks and identified certain pars with heavy meal (e.g. lead) contaminated soils.
Thriving Agricultural Systems in Urbanized Landscapes (Nat’l Instit. of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) /USDA) Ray Weil and Gurpal Toor (UMD) with others from Penn State University. Although this collaboration with Penn State University hasn’t officially started yet, we will have fall 2019 project kickoff meeting with the Stakeholder Advisory Board and project personnel to begin agricultural futures development and scenario-building exercises with respect to the future sustainability of ag in this region. My lab’s role in the project will be to work with two representative commercial famers that interact with their urbanizing environment to foster and measure impacts and synergies.