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1,800 local governments

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

284,000 acres of tidal wetlands

Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species.

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Scooping the poop

Half of pet owners always pick up after their pet, but one-third of pet owners seldom or never do so. Pet waste contains bacteria that can harm human health and contaminate the water we use for drinking, swimming and fishing.

18 million people

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 18 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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Filtering drinking water

Forests and trees help filter and protect the drinking water of 75% of watershed residents.

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51 billion gallons

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

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87 species of waterbirds

During the winter, the Bay supports 87 species of waterbirds. Of these wintering waterbirds, 14 species rely on the Bay to serve as habitat for more than 10% of their continental populations.

Largest estuary in the United States

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary: a body of water where fresh and salt water mix. It is the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the United States and third largest in the world.

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100,000 smaller tributaries

The Chesapeake Bay watershed has 150 major rivers and streams, but contains more than 100,000 smaller tributaries.

200 miles long

The Bay itself is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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.

80% of the Bay's freshwater

Collectively, the Chesapeake’s three largest rivers—the Susquehanna, Potomac and James Rivers—provide more than 80% of the fresh water to the Bay.

6,282,718 acres of greenspace

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

60% of Chesapeake forests

Sixty percent of Chesapeake forests have been divided into disconnected fragments by roads, homes and other gaps that are too wide or dangerous for wildlife to cross.

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12 major rivers

Major rivers emptying into the Bay include the James, York, Rappahannock, Potomac, Patuxent, Patapsco and Susquehanna from the west and the Pocomoke, Wicomico, Nanticoke, Choptank and Chester from the east.

Three geologic regions

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

3,600 species of plants and animals

The Bay supports more than 3,600 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish, 173 species of shellfish, over 2,700 plant species and more than 16 species of underwater grasses.

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500,000 Canada geese

More than 500,000 Canada geese winter in and near the Bay.

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Meaning of "Chesepiooc"

The word Chesepiooc is an Algonquian word referring to a village "at a big river." In 2005, Algonquian historian Blair Rudes helped dispel the widely-held belief that the name meant “great shellfish bay.”

100 acres of forest lost each day

Forests cover 55% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Between 1990 and 2005, the watershed lost an estimated 100 acres of forest land each day. While this rate fell in 2006 to an estimated 70 acres per day, this rate is still unsustainable.

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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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29 species of waterfowl

The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.

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