Discover the Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay - the largest estuary in the United States - is an incredibly complex ecosystem that includes important habitats and food webs. The Bay and its rivers, wetlands and forests provide homes, food and protection for diverse groups of animals and plants. Fish of all types and sizes either live in the Bay and its tributaries year-round or visit its waters as they migrate along the East Coast.
Ospreys are a top predator in the Chesapeake Bay, and they help scientists study the effects of toxics on our ecosystem.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed
A watershed is an area of land that drains to a particular river, lake, bay or other body of water. Watersheds are sometimes called “basins” or "drainage basins."
We all live in a watershed. Some watersheds, like that of your local stream or creek, are small. Others, like the Chesapeake Bay watershed, are very large. Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Bay Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a complex set of relationships among living and non-living things. Air, water, soil, sunlight, plants and animals – including humans – make up an ecosystem. Ecosystems can be as tiny as a patch of dirt in your backyard, or as large as the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is an extremely productive and complex ecosystem. The Bay ecosystem consists of the Bay itself, its local rivers and streams, and all the plants and animals it supports. Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
Critter Of The Month
The green treefrog is a smooth-skinned frog that can be found along the East Coast. Its bright green coloring serves as effective camouflage against predators.
Harris Creek becomes the first target of the oyster restoration goals set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order: to restore oyster populations in 20 Bay tributaries by 2025. In this Choptank River tributary, existing reefs will be studied, new bars will be built and spat-on-shell will be planted.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit to the District of Columbia. It is the first of its kind to incorporate green infrastructure into its requirements, setting a national model for stormwater management.
Maryland, Virginia and New York ban phosphates in dishwasher detergent to lower phosphorous pollution in local waterways.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency establishes the Total Maximum Daily Load to limit the amount of pollutants that can enter the Chesapeake Bay.
The Bay Program launches ChesapeakeStat to improve communication about restoration goals, progress and funding.
President Obama signs an executive order that calls on the federal government to renew the effort to protect and restore the watershed.
The Chesapeake Executive Council sets two-year milestones to accelerate restoration and increase accountability.
Annapolis becomes the first jurisdiction in the watershed to ban phosphorous in lawn fertilizer.
Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission issue emergency regulations on the harvest of blue crabs to help the species recover. The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab fishery is declared a federal disaster.
The 2008 Farm Bill dedicates more than $180 million over the course of four years to agricultural conservation.
The invasive zebra mussel is found in the Maryland portion of the Susquehanna River.