The Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary with six major tributaries, the James, the Potomac, the Susquehanna, the Patuxent, the York, and the Rappahannock Rivers, feeding into the bay from various locations in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia (Chemical Contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay – Workshop Discussion 1). These areas depend on the Bay as both an environmental and an economic resource. Throughout the last 15 years the Chesapeake Bay has suffered from elevated levels of pollution. Nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater treatment plants, farmland, air pollution, and development all lead to reduced water clarity and lowered oxygen levels, which harm fish, crabs, oysters and underwater grasses (Key Commission Issues 1). There are other types of pollution in the bay such as toxic chemicals, but because nutrient pollution is the most significant and most widespread in the Bay its effects are the most harmful to fisheries. Nitrogen and phosphorous fuel algal blooms which cloud the water and block sunlight from reaching underwater grass beds that provide food and habitat for waterfowl, juvenile fish, blue crabs, and other species (Blankenship 11-12). Algae plays a vital role in the food chain by providing food for small fish and oysters. However, when there is an overabundance of algae it dies, sinks to the bottom of the Bay, and decomposes in such a manner that depletes the oxygen levels of the Bay (11). The reduced oxygen levels in the Bay reduce the carrying capacity of the environment and these “dead areas” sometimes kill off species that can not migrate to other areas of the Bay, such as oysters (11). Increased abundance of algal blooms also led to the overabundance of harmful and toxic algae species and microbes such as the microbe Pfiesteria, which was responsible in 1997 for eating fish alive and making dozens of people sick (12). The heightened awareness of diseases that can be contracted through consumption of contaminated fish also has an economic impact. Therefore, the excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorous have fueled an overabundance of algal blooms, which has reduced water clarity and lowered oxygen levels, affecting many species within the bay and ultimately the industries that rely on these species.
Runoff is affecting the Chesapeake Bay. It erodes, pollutes, and creates dead zones. It’s the fastest growing source of pollution. It hurts not only plants and animals living in the Bay, but humans as well. The increase in runoff can be blamed. It’s us. We’ve made impervious surfaces, as well as agriculture, which greatly affects the amount of runoff. But we’ve realized what we’ve done, and we’re trying to decrease the amount of runoff which is greatly harming our environment.
The Chesapeake Bay region is highly effected by climate change. This region is close to the water which makes it an easy target for flooding because of sea-level rise but the land is also sinking because of aquafer depletion. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been organized to protect and save the Chesapeake Bay and the areas that surround it. The American Farm Bureau Federation is somewhat opposed to the bay. In 2016, The Supreme Court denied the American Farm Bureau Federation to try and stop the federal state partnerships that clean up the Chesapeake Bay (Chesapeake Bay Foundation). The American Farm Bureau Federation and partners were trying to challenge the legality of the Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan that is also known as the Chesapeake
Nearly decimated in the early 2000s, the Chesapeake Bay oyster is coming back. However, they are facing growing threats from us both directly and indirectly. One of the newly realized threats to the oyster is the acidification of the water. A second threat is a common problem to many species and that is habitat loss. And finally they face the classic problem of the fishing industry, over-harvesting.
I do believe that these Invasive and Exotic species have even altered the Chesapeake Bay region and that these alterations aren’t always predictable! For instance, Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay have suffered since their parasites Dermo and MSX were introduced into the area as exotics.(3) Oysters fundamental role is to abolish the algae in the water; yet with the decline of oysters there is a major demolish in the bay ecosystem. (3) This is not just affecting the bay, it is also affecting oyster fishery bringing much economic loss. (3) Other examples would include the mute swan; which acts aggressive towards other birds in the area. (2) Even though there are many downfalls to these species many could bring good.
WaldGeorge G., Erin P. Voigt, Heather Bergschneider, Mark A. Green Roger I. E. Newell et al. “Biocalcification in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in Relation to Long-term Trends in Chesapeake Bay pH.” Estuaries and Coasts (2011) 34:221–231.
You might be surprised to learn that the most important animal in the Chesapeake Bay is the oyster. In addition to being a tasty dish on the menu at many seafood restaurants, and an important part of the economy of the Bay area, oysters play a critical role in maintaining the health of the Bay for a variety of reasons.
The native people of Bristol Bay are still as tied to the natural resources of the area as their ancestors were. They continue to gather herbaceous vegetation to support their diet and medical uses. They also carry on communal traditional songs, dances, and storytelling centered around hunting and fishing exploits. The Bristol Bay watershed provides sanctuary to abundant varieties of animal species, including 29 fishes (ex. trout, cod, halibut), more than 190 birds (ex. ducks, cranes, bald eagles), and more than 40 native mammals (ex. moose, black bear, caribou) (http://americanprogress.org). At the forefront of these ecological treasures is the salmon which is lynchpin at the very core of the communities adjoined to form Bristol Bay. The
The coastal waters inhabit a very important ecosystem. On the west coast of Florida there is less wave energy than the east coast, which helps to protect the inshore marshes there. The salt marshes play a vital role in alleviating the shoreline by trapping sediments and in turn creating land in the process.
As the many rivers of the Hudson Bay feed into it fresh water is being inputted as well and has a low salt level compared to a lot of oceans. The sea life in the Hudson Bay is incredible. The Hudson Bay is a big home for animals that live inside and