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200 miles long

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

26 different SAV species

The Chesapeake Bay is home to 26 different species of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV), including freshwater plants, estuarine plants, redhead grass, and marine species.

Longest river fully within Maryland

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

500,000 Canada geese

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

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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.

29 species of waterfowl

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

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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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Chesapeake National Recreation Area

Legislation proposed by Maryland’s Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative John Sarbanes to incorporate the bay into the nation’s park system.

1,800 local governments

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

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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4,863 feet above sea level

At 4,863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is the highest point in the Chesapeake watershed.

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.

Where does the Bay get its water?

The Bay receives about half its water volume from the Atlantic Ocean in the form of saltwater. The other half (freshwater) drains into the Bay from the enormous 64,000-square-mile watershed.

The Bay's largest tributary

The Susquehanna River is the Bay’s largest tributary, and contributes about half of the Bay’s freshwater (about 19 million gallons per minute).

Saltiest part of the Bay

Salinity is highest at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where water from the Atlantic Ocean enters.

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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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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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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34 degrees Fahrenheit

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

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.

What is brackish water?

Most of the water in the Bay, including in the middle portion of the Bay and its tidal rivers, is brackish–a mixture of salty and fresh, with a salinity level of greater than 0.5 ppt but less than 25 ppt.

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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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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