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Three geologic regions

The Chesapeake Bay watershed contains three distinct geologic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont plateau and the Appalachian province.

6,282,718 acres of greenspace

There are 6,282,718 acres of accessible green space within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

35.5 million years

The formation of the Chesapeake Bay happened 35.5 million years ago when a meteor collided with Earth, forming a massive crater.

1,800 sunken vessels

More than 1,800 vessels have met their end in Bay waters, lying broken and battered on the Bay's floor.

Getting oxygen underwater

Just like those on land, animals in the Chesapeake Bay need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is present underwater in dissolved form, and in order to thrive, animals like blue crabs need dissolved oxygen concentrations of three milligrams per liter.

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Replacing grass lawn with native plants

Twenty-six percent of watershed residents have replaced an area of their grass lawn with native plants. Native plants provide food and habitat to bees, birds and butterflies, and often don’t need to be watered or fertilized.

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21 feet deep

The Bay is surprisingly shallow. Its average depth, including all tidal tributaries, is about 21 feet. A person who is six feet tall could wade through more than 700,000 acres of the Bay and never get his or her hat wet.

34 degrees Fahrenheit

Water temperatures in the Bay fluctuate widely throughout the year, dropping as low as 34 degrees in winter.

10 U.S. presidents

There have been 10 U.S. presidents from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, James Buchanan and Joe Biden.

174 feet deep

The deepest part of the Bay, located southeast of Annapolis near Bloody Point, is called “The Hole” and is 174 feet deep.

1,800 local governments

There are nearly 1,800 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships.

More than 200 historic shipwrecks

Mallows Bay is the final resting place for more than 200 historic shipwrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War. Commonly referred to as the “Ghost Fleet” of Mallows Bay, it is the largest collection of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere.

51 billion gallons

Approximately 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Bay each day from its freshwater tributaries.

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18.5 million people

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 18 and a half million people. Ten million of them live along or near the Bay’s shores. About 150,000 new people move into the Bay watershed each year.

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4-30 mile width

The Bay’s width ranges from four miles near Aberdeen, Maryland, to 30 miles near cape Charles, Virginia.

One million waterfowl

Nearly one million waterfowl winter on the Bay–approximately one-third of the Atlantic coast’s migratory population. The birds stop to feed and rest on the Bay during their annual migration along the Atlantic Migratory Bird Flyway.

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What is a shallop?

Captain John Smith and his men sailed the Chesapeake Bay in a modest wooden boat called a shallop–an open wooden workboat such as a barge, dory, or rowboat that was small enough to row but also had one or two sails.

Litter bugs

Nine in ten watershed residents never toss food wrappers, cups or cigarette butts on the ground. Almost eight in ten watershed residents pick up litter when they see it.

200 invasive species

There are as many as 200 invasive species present in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that are causing some serious issues in an already-stressed ecosystem. Some examples include blue catfish, snakehead, zebra mussel, purple loosestrife, and nutria.

Can we do more?

Seventy percent of watershed residents want to do more to help make their local creeks, rivers and lakes healthier.

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1.6 billion pounds of blue crabs

Since 1990, commercial watermen have harvested more than 1.6 billion pounds of blue crabs from the Bay. Data show commercial harvest has experienced a steady decline, and in 2014 hit the lowest level recorded in 25 years: 35 million pounds.

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12 species of shark

There are twelve known species of shark that have been sighted in the Chesapeake Bay, with only five considered a common occurrence—smooth dogfish, sand tiger shark, sandbar shark, spiny dogfish, and bull shark.

Remnants of an ancient river

A few deep troughs run along much of the Bay’s length and are believed to be remnants of the ancient Susquehanna River.

80,000 acres of underwater grasses

Nearly 80,000 acres of underwater grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on underwater grass beds for protection from predators.

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