The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. The bay holds eighteen hundred trillion gallons of water and stretches over 200 miles in length between its most northern point, the Susquehanna River to the Bay’s most southern tip, the Atlantic Ocean. Home to more than seventeen million people, the Chesapeake Bay is the primary water source for over 150 rivers and streams. Because of the vast amount of rivers and streams the bay feeds, this watershed impacts the lives of citizens on the eastern shore spanning a total of six U.S. states. The importance of the Chesapeake Bay is incredible; two of the United States’ five major North Atlantic ports – Baltimore and Hampton Roads – are on the Bay. (Chesapeake Bay Program, n/d). The highly productive ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay provides food and shelter for a wide variety of plant and animal life in and surrounding the Bay. The critical natural resources the bay provides stimulates economic growth and has for centuries.
The Chesapeake Bay lies in three states-- Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Although this estuary lies in 3 different states, the tributaries that contribute water to the bay lie in many different states, extending from New York to West Virginia and Virginia. Therefore, the health of the bay is a national problem, as its health strongly depends on our actions that we perform throughout the nation
Television commercials, print ads, and billboards in the Washington, DC, area are asking residents to connect two things many might find unrelated: lawn care and seafood. In one commercial, a man stuffs a big plateful of grass in his mouth after a voice-over says, “Spring rains carry excess lawn fertilizers through our sewers and rivers and into the Chesapeake Bay, where the blue crab harvest has been extremely low. So skip the fertilizer until fall, because once they’re gone, what’s left to enjoy?”(Environment, p. 7)
This ad is directed to many people in the Chesapeake Bay region because there are tons of pollution each year that are destroying the nation’s largest estuary, or part of a body of water where the fresh and salt water mix, and are also killing the Bay’s crabs, oysters, and fish, which is a huge industry in the area and also something the state of Maryland is known nationally for (Environment, p. 8). Pollution is destroying the Chesapeake Bay every single day, however now people are taking steps in the right direction to fix this problem but many people fear that time has run out.
A watershed is an area of land that contributes water to a river, lake, wetland, bay or any other body of water, small or large. Watersheds are also known as basins or drainage basins, as they do “drain” off into a larger body of water. There are watersheds all around us. Small streams and creeks are also considered watersheds; so even if you don’t know it, you too live in a watershed. Watersheds consist of all surface water, as well as all ground and underground water. There are watersheds of many different sizes. We Virginia residents live in one of the largest watersheds in the world. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is said to be larger than 64,000 square miles and embody six different states. The six states to which the Chesapeake Bay watershed surrounds are as follows: New York, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and of course, Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay watershed houses more than 17 million people in total. Another fact—a total of 150 creeks, streams, and rivers drain into the Chesapeake Bay River. The Susquehanna, York, Rappahannock, Potomac,and James rivers are the five largest rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.I will be focusing on the latter in this paper—the James River.
The decline of native Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in the Chesapeake Bay has had both economic and ecological consequences on its surrounding community. Ecologically oysters are not only ecosystem engineers, but also keystone species within their community, meaning without them other organisms are drastically affected. Economically, oysters are a valuable commodity which has led to a considerable deterioration of oyster populations. Over harvesting and destruction of habitat can be attributed to great reductions of the oyster population. A sharp decrease in oyster populations leads to a loss in the ecosystem services they provide which in turns negatively affects the Chesapeake Bay. Due to this reduction various strategies have been implemented to revive the oyster population.
... the residual effects of pollution left behind by both mining in the Chesapeake Bay area around rivers, such as the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. Lutz also had quoted John Dawes, now the executive director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, on the damage done to streams and to the aquatic life in the streams. Dawes told Lutz "'we're looking at 4,600 miles of dead streams in Pennsylvania'" in reference to the vitality in polluted regions. This can occur in several ways but the two generally accepted causes are the toxicity levels in the water are too high to support life and the contaminated water is slowly killing off members of the food chains for the aquatic life. In either theory, the death of fish and their food chain caused by AMD is impacting the billion dollar fishing industry that calls Chesapeake Bay home.
existing rivers and craving out new waterways. The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries grew and
"The Long Island Sound is a national treasure, to be prized for its beauty, abundant and diverse resources, and recreational and commercial opportunities" (Long Island Sound Study). It is true that for many of the residents of the area the Long Island Sound is a source of inspiration and renewal. The Sound is widely believed to be the most substantial natural component adding to the beauty of the entire island. The Long Island Sound provides more then just beautiful scenery, but crucial natural elements that aide both human and animal residents. Despite all that the sound provides, it suffers many of the same problems as most natural features, pollution. The sound is a crucial part in maintaining the quality of life on Long Island, so its protection, preservation, and restoration are imperative.
The Maryland Blue Crab is an essential part of the Chesapeake Bay; from the food chain of the creatures in the water, to the business side of the thriving demand for the crab during the hot summer months, but there is no denying the fact that the crab is just as important alive as it is when it is being harvested by local fisherman. By becoming more informed of the impact the crab has on Maryland’s bay and on the people who live around it, people can take bigger steps in making sure the crab will always be around for decades to come.
Salt marshes, usually mistaken for a mosquito infested mud pits, have a higher purpose than what the human population gives them credit for. Salt marshes are a unique ecosystem that makes home to many different species of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. Salt marsh ecosystem’s serve as nursery grounds for many juvenile game fish such as red fish and black drum and are also home to a very important commercial fish, the bay anchovy (Anchoa mitchilli). The salt marsh ecosystems also serve as a buffer by filtering the pollution out of our waters. Human industrialization is currently filling in the areas where these salt marshes are inhabited and is altering our coastline significantly. Many efforts are being made to help restore the salt marshes through rehabilitation, re-vegetation, and if needed re-creation. Once a salt marsh has been completely destroyed, despite the best efforts, that ecosystem will no longer function as well as it once did.