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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:

Rivers and Streams

The Chesapeake Bay's freshwater rivers and streams provide natural areas where people can fish, boat and swim. (Chesapeake Bay Program)

Within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, five major rivers — the Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, York and James — provide almost 90 percent of the fresh water to the Bay. These and other rivers, along with the hundreds of thousands of creeks and streams that feed them, provide vital habitat for many aquatic species. The streams and rivers that flow into the Bay are also called tributaries.


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