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Bald eagle recovery in the Chesapeake

In the 1970’s, there were as few as 60 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the entire Bay region. Today, as much as 3,000 breeding pairs of bald eagles can be found.

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Six states and the District of Columbia

The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches approximately 524 miles from Cooperstown, New York, to Norfolk, Virginia. It includes parts of six states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—and the entire District of Columbia.

Volunteering with environmental organizations

While one-third of watershed residents have volunteered their time or donated their money to a charitable organization, less than two in ten volunteers have done so for an environmental organization.

Longest river fully within Maryland

The 110-mile-long Patuxent River is the longest river to flow exclusively within the borders of Maryland.

4,480 square miles of surface area

The surface area of the Bay and its tidal tributaries is approximately 4,480 square miles.

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.

64,000 square miles

The area of the watershed is about 64,000 square miles.

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.

1,300 public access points

There are more than 1,300 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

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Captain John Smith visits the Bay

In 1608, Captain John Smith set off on the first of two voyages where he charted the land and waterways, and later drew an elaborate and remarkably accurate map of the Chesapeake Bay.

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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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100,000 smaller tributaries

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

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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70 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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Longest free flowing river in the Bay watershed

The 195-mile-long Rappahannock River is the longest free flowing river in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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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How we can fix water pollution

Eighty-six percent of watershed residents believe if people work together, water pollution can be fixed.

18 trillion gallons

The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.

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.

51 billion gallons

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

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Formally recognized tribes in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia has formally recognized 11 tribes. Among them, the Pamunkey tribe was the first Virginia tribe to be recognized by the federal government.

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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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500 million pounds of seafood

The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.

Filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day

At filter feeders, oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.