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Take Action

Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Program Take Action section. Here you can find a bunch of ways to connect with the Chesapeake Bay and all it offers.

How to Build a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels collect and store a portion of the rainwater that runs out of a downspout or off of a roof, keeping this runoff out of our rivers and streams. This water is unsafe for drinking, but can be used to water plants or wash cars.


For Bay restoration to be a success, we all must do our part. Our everyday actions - from fertilizing our lawns and using water to driving our cars to work and school - have a major impact on the Bay, one that can't be fixed by government and non-profit restoration partners alone. By making simple changes in our lives, each one of us can take part in restoring the Bay and its rivers for future generations to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Reduce Emissions

Avoid letting your car idle. Idling for even 10 seconds can waste fuel, damage your engine and pollute our air and water.

Photo Credit: Patricia H. Schuette/Flickr

Reduce Waste

Instead of single-use products, use reusable cloth items like canvas grocery bags, cloth napkins or cloth diapers.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Plant a buffer of trees and shrubs around the edge of your property to capture polluted runoff.

Photo Credit: kevinkarnsfamily / Flickr

Recycle Used Motor Oil

Properly dispose of used motor oil and antifreeze. Many gas stations and landfills have oil recycling programs.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Stash Your Trash

Stow and secure used bags, bottles, fishing lines and other trash on your boat so litter doesn't fall into the water.

Photo Credit: Scott Robinson/Flickr

Reduce Pesticide Use

Make your own garden insect repellents using common household items like garlic, vinegar and cooking oil.

Photo Credit: Sustainable_Sanitation/Flickr

Create an Infiltration Trench

Infiltration trenches are one of the most effective ways to keep polluted stormwater from reaching local waterways.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Take Shorter Showers

Take shorter showers. Cutting your shower time by five minutes can save 10-12 gallons of water per shower.

Attend an event

Find a fun and exciting Bay-related event to attend with this list of upcoming events happening across the Chesapeake watershed. Events range from nature workshops for children and families to bird walks to restoration activities like trash clean-ups and invasive plant removals.

Turkey Pardoning/Food Drive

11/26/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - For the fifth year, the Virginia Living Museum will celebrate the long and healthy life of its wild turkeys during the annual Turkey Pardoning. Enjoy exhibits and activities about wild turkeys and attend the brief ceremony at 11 a.m. when Newport News May

Holiday Bazaar

11/29/2014 Annapolis Maritime Museum (Annapolis,Maryland) - Come celebrate the holiday season with the Annapolis Maritime Museum at our First Annual Holiday Bazaar. Saturday November 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m The Holiday Bazaar with feature 24 local, diverse, artisans. These hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind gifts,

Holiday Evening in the VLM Planetarium

11/29/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - Since 1965, we have journeyed in the footsteps of the Magi, seeking the identity of a mysterious star which foretold the coming of a king. Over the years, the scientific thinking has changed, archeology has revealed new clues about the lands in which thes

Holiday Crafts

12/07/2014 Elk Neck State Park (North East,Maryland) - The Holiday season is here; are you ready?! Come on out and make that special someone a gift to remember. All ages are welcome! $3 per person or $10 for a family of four. Call to make your reservations today!

Homeschool Afternoon at the VLM

12/09/2014 Virginia Living Museum (Newport News,Virginia) - The Virginia Living Museum offers homeschool students, grades K through 12, an afternoon of fun and engaging programs that highlight important science concepts. Four natural and space science programs are available for grades K through 6. An environmental

Join a group

See our directory of watershed organizations that includes contact information for more than 600 nonprofit organizations that are actively working to restore and conserve natural resources and create sustainable communities across the Chesapeake watershed.

watershed orgs

Looking to join a watershed organization near you? Enter your address below to find out what groups are doing great things to restore and protect the environment in your locality.

Visit the Chesapeake

Exploring Chesapeake Bay Trade and Travel - For hundreds of years, the Chesapeake has served as a major transportation route-for both traders and travelers. Come visit the following Gateways to learn about the Chesapeake's transportation and trade history, particularly as it relates to railroads, and discover how the Bay has helped shape the nation's economy and commerce vitality from colonial times to the 21st century.

Baltimore and Annapolis Trail

Among the most visited parks in Maryland, the "BandA Trail" stretches along the route of the old B and A Short Line Railroad, which formerly connected the state's capitol (Annapolis) with its major port and commercial center (Baltimore). Historic transportation structures such as the electric powerhouses, switch boxes, and the Severna Park Station still stand along the Trail and enhance its appeal for park visitors.

Cape Charles Historic District

Established in 1884, Cape Charles was built as the railroad's southern terminus from which steamships carried passengers and freight across the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. While many enjoy exploring the railroad history of Cape Charles through walking tours and exhibits in the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center, the area also offers recreational activities, including fishing, clamming, crabbing, and boating.

Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum

Although the Depression and the rise of the automobile killed the railroad route that led to this Chesapeake Beach community, the train station survives and is the setting for this museum exploring the resort's heyday, the rail line that served it and early 20th Century transportation and tourism. Exhibits include photographs of trains and the town, a model train, a diorama of the resort and a surviving kangaroo from the carousel.

Elizabeth River Trail - Atlantic City Spur

Built on an old railroad right-of-way, the Elizabeth River Trail follows a section of Norfolk, Virginia's waterfront. Cyclists, joggers and walkers gain a new view of harbor activities that demonstrate the importance of the Elizabeth River's connection to the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Follow the Northern Central Railroad Trail at Gunpowder Falls State Park, and discover the 21-mile abandoned railroad bed that the trail follows, extending from Ashland, Maryland to the state line. Along the way, stop at the restored Monkton Trail Station, which now serves as a museum, gift shop and Ranger Station.

See more places to visit.

Public Access

Public access points are places anyone can visit to swim, hike, paddle or simply enjoy the history and natural beauty of the Chesapeake. Providing access to natural areas helps the public build a connection with the rivers, forests and wildlife of the Bay watershed. Check out our interactive map with over 1000 public access points around the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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