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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:


Wetlands provide critical habitat for hundreds of critters while also improving the health of the Bay by collecting and storing flood waters, filtering polluted runoff and weakening storm surges.

Located where land meets water, wetlands are vital habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Wetlands act like a sponge, soaking up stormwater and dampening storm surges. By trapping polluted runoff, wetlands help slow of the flow of nutrients, sediment and chemical contaminants into rivers, streams and the Bay. Hundreds of species of fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates depend on wetlands, and humans rely on wetlands to support recreational fishing and hunting across the watershed. But shoreline development, sea level rise and invasive species pose major threats to these critical habitats: development along beaches and shorelines blocks the creation of further wetland habitat and creates excess sediment; sea level rise floods wetlands with saltwater, destroying plants faster than they can populate higher ground; and invasive plants and animals can crowd out native species or damage wetland habitat.

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