Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Explore our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about the Bay and its watershed, habitats and wildlife. You can browse the FAQ by category, or explore the answers to some of our most common questions below.
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Litter, nutrients, sediment and chemical contaminants are some of the common pollutants found in rivers and streams.
A tidal river is a river or a stretch of river whose flow and level are influenced by tides. For example, the Choptank, Potomac and Patuxent rivers have tidal and non-tidal portions.
A tributary is a creek, stream or river that flows into a larger body of water. For example, the Susquehanna, Potomac and James rivers are tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Choptank, James, Nanticoke, Patapsco, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, Susquehanna and York rivers are just a few of the many rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. These rivers are fed by the hundreds of thousands of streams and creeks that flow through the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Altogether, more than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers thread through the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Fresh water enters the Chesapeake Bay primarily from its rivers and streams. Fresh water also enters via rain, snow and groundwater.
An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water where fresh water from streams and rivers mixes with salt water from the ocean. Some river mouths are estuaries. For example, the tidal portion of the Hudson River in New York is an estuary.
Fish passageways allow American shad and other migratory fish to pass over dams and reach their upstream spawning grounds. There are five major fish passageway designs used in the Chesapeake Bay watershed: denil, steeppass, vertical slot, pool and weir, and fish lifts.
Dams can block American shad and other migratory fish from reaching their upstream spawning grounds. Dams can also affect the natural flow of rivers and streams.
Fish passage is the ability of fish to migrate up rivers, streams and other waterways, often to access spawning or rearing ground. Barriers to fish passage (which include road culverts, dams, dikes and other obstructions) can reduce the distribution and habitat available to American shad and other migratory fish and, in some cases, eliminate fish populations altogether.
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