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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:


Strong storms, like Hurricane Isabel, which hit the Chesapeake Bay in 2003, can lead to flooding in the watershed. Extremes in rainfall—whether too much or too little—can have varying effects on the Bay ecosystem. (Michael Land Photography)

Rainfall, wind and temperature can have wide-ranging effects on Chesapeake Bay habitat, water quality and fish and shellfish populations. While all plants and animals can adapt to periodic changes in environmental conditions, scientists cannot predict with certainty how the region will respond to the prolonged periods of extreme weather that have been linked to climate change.

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