CESU 20th anniversary logo

What is a CESU? Nationally, Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units (CESUs) provide research, technical assistance, and education to federal land management, environment, and research agencies and their partners. By streamlining the funding process, CESUs efficiently facilitate collaboration between partner research institutions and federal agencies on research that informs the agencies' environmental and cultural management decisions. Research institution partners within the CHWA CESU provide leadership in watershed science and stewardship with special emphasis on the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay. To learn more about CESUs, visit our "What is a CESU?" site.


Chesapeake Watershed CESU LogoThe Chesapeake Watershed is home to more than 3,600 species and over 15 million people all competing for resources and space within this 64,000 square mile region. The CHWA CESU promotes stewardship and integrated ecosystem management of natural and cultural resources within the Chesapeake Watershed through collaborative research, technical assistance, and education.


Established in August 2001, the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CHWA CESU) is a partnership among 70 research institutions and 12 federal agencies whose members strive to understand and protect the natural and cultural resources of the region. With the Appalachian Laboratory as its lead administrative agency, the CHWA CESU is one of a national network of 17 such cooperative research units.


The CHWA CESU fosters stewardship of the watershed through collaborative research, technical assistance, and education that support integrated ecosystem management. Emphasizing interdisciplinary and multi-scale approaches, the CHWA CESU addresses the complex and interrelated biological, physical, cultural, and social resources and issues within this urbanizing landscape. The CHWA CESU provides national and international leadership in watershed science and stewardship.