State of the Chesapeake

The health of the Chesapeake Bay region faces a multitude of threats, such as poor water quality, vulnerable habitats and aggressive invasive species. Learn about the current state of habitats, wildlife, and environmental threats in the Chesapeake.

  • bald-eagle

    Bald Eagles

    After widespread pesticide use devastated the region's bald eagle population, a ban on DDT and the active management of eagle habitat helped the region become home to one of the nation's highest concentrations of these iconic birds.

  • blue-crab

    Blue Crabs

    Blue crabs are vital to our region's economy and culture and an important part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

  • weather

    Climate Change

    The Bay is one of the most vulnerable regions in the nation to the effects of climate change, and has already experienced environmental shifts, from warming temperatures to rising sea levels.

  • dead-zone

    The Dead Zone

    When nutrient-fueled algae blooms die and decompose, the resulting low-oxygen conditions—known as “dead zones”—can suffocate underwater life and shrink available habitat.

  • fish-passage

    Fish Passage

    Removing dams or installing fish lifts allows migratory fish to return to upstream habitats and lets resident fish move freely throughout the region's rivers.

  • invasive-species

    Invasive Species

    Whether introduced accidentally or on purpose, invasive species can cause harm to native plants and animals by encroaching on their food or habitat.

  • Asset 4

    Litter

    Plastic bags, bottles and other litter aren't just unsightly to look at: they can also add toxic contaminants to waterways and be ingested by animals.

  • osprey

    Osprey

    These raptors may be found on nearly every corner of the world, but the Chesapeake region is home to the largest concentration of nesting osprey.

  • oysters

    Oysters

    Natural filter-feeders, oysters clean our waters and provide other animals with food and habitat, while making up one of the region’s most valuable fisheries.

  • pollution

    Pollution

    When pollutants like excess nutrients, sediment and chemical contaminants enter local waterways, they threaten the health of plants and animals that live in the Bay ecosystem.

  • world-population

    Population

    Each of the 18.1 million people that live in the region affects the Bay: consuming resources, altering the landscape and polluting the air and water.

  • rivers