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Learn the Issues

There are many problems facing the Chesapeake Bay. The major pollutant to the Bay is excess nutrients, which come from agriculture, urban/suburban runoff, vehicle emissions and many other sources. Excess nutrients fuel the growth of algae blooms, which block sunlight that underwater bay grasses need to grow. When algae die, they are decomposed in a process that depletes the water of oxygen, which all aquatic animals need to survive. Learn more about some of the issues facing the Chesapeake Bay:

Bay Grasses

A volunteer helps the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service track underwater grass abundance in the Chesapeake Bay.

Underwater grasses—also known as submerged aquatic vegetation or SAV—are plants that grow in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its streams, creeks and rivers. Underwater grasses are a critical part of the Bay ecosystem: they provide wildlife with food and habitat, add oxygen to the water, absorb nutrient pollution, trap sediment and reduce erosion. Like all plants, underwater grasses need sunlight to grow, which makes improving water clarity an important step in underwater grass restoration.


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