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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A tributary is a stream or river that eventually flows into a larger body of water. For example, the James River is a tributary 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 hundreds of thousands of streams and creeks that flow throughout 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 shad and other anadromous 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 block shad and other anadromous fish from reaching their upstream spawning grounds. Historically, most shad and river herring spawned in freshwater areas that are now upstream of dams, road culverts and other blockages.
Fish passage is the ability of fish to migrate up rivers, streams and other waterways, often to access spawning or rearing areas. Barriers to fish passage (which can include road culverts, dams, dikes and other obstructions) can reduce the distribution and habitat available to anadromous fish and, in some cases, eliminate fish populations altogether.
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