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Chesapeake Bay Issues

There are a number of issues that threaten the Chesapeake Bay’s health. Some of the major issues facing the Chesapeake Bay are:

  • Nutrient and sediment pollution from agriculture, stormwater runoff, air pollution and wastewater treatment plants
  • Development and population growth
  • Low populations of many fish and shellfish species, including shad, oysters and menhaden

Many natural geographic factors also influence the Bay’s health. The Bay watershed – the area of land that drains to the Bay – covers 64,000 square miles across six states and the District of Columbia. Combine this with the fact that the Bay’s average depth is just 21 feet, and that means a lot of water – and pollution – drains into a narrow, shallow estuary.

Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay is a difficult task. However, with a dedicated effort by government, businesses and the region’s 17 million residents, we can achieve a healthy, restored Bay for future generations to enjoy.


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