The Importance Of The Chesapeake Bay In The United States

explanatory Essay
2817 words
2817 words

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.
One of the bays biggest resources is oysters. Oysters are filter feeders which mean they pump water through their gills trapping algae, sediments and nutrients as they release clean the water back into the bay. The material collected through the oysters digestive process forms crystallized layers of nutrient rich matter which sometimes develop into pearls. Filtering the water provides food for the the oysters to grow and also helps to continuously clean the Chesapeake Bay. One oyster can filter fifty gallons of water within a twenty-four hour period according to many sources. Oysters were once able to filter the entire bay in about a week, however, these creatures are now scarce in the bay. The Chesapeake Bay’s oyster, also known as (crasso...

... middle of paper ... for oysters which combats over harvesting as well. All these resolutions are helping to increase the bay's oyster population.
Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are struggling right now. “Maryland, Virginia, and their federal partners are faced with a historic opportunity. An exhaustive five-year study concluded that importing a foreign oyster is the wrong approach and that restoration of the native oyster should be scaled up and focused.”(cbf 2010). With new plans President Obama put in place, the oyster restoration program is on the right path. “President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order for the Chesapeake Bay in 2009, and in response the federal government set a goal of rebuilding functioning networks of oyster reefs in 20 tributaries by 2025.”(cbf 2010). This type of forward thinking is going to increase the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains the importance of the chesapeake bay, the largest estuary in the united states.
  • Explains that the chesapeake bay's oyster population has declined due to over harvesting, agricultural runoff, and disease.
  • Explains that the chesapeake bay was once abundant with oysters dating back to about 5,000 years ago. the reefs were actually hazards to ships sailing through the bay.
  • Explains that people began to use and eat oysters around 4,500 years ago, shell deposits called middens were created as people harvested the oyster.
  • Explains that europeans and natives only harvested oysters around the shore in shallow water. in the colonial time there were not enough people to make an impact on oyster stock, so the oyster population continued to grow.
  • Explains that new england fishermen developed a device to pick up hundreds of oysters and rip out their reef called dredges, which negatively affected the oyster home.
  • Explains the inventions that led to the fall of oysters, such as steam powered ships, canning machines, and dredges.
  • Explains that maryland's harvest jumped to 5,000,000 bushels of oysters and virginians claimed 2,000,000. oyster shells were being consumed for grit, agricultural lime, and building fill.
  • Explains how captains resorted to tricking men with liquor, drugging them, and then "shanghaiing" them to the oyster boats. state laws were passed from 1890-1906 to improve work conditions.
  • Explains that by the 1920s, the annual take was around three to five million bushels because of overharvesting, but now it's less than one percent of what it used to be.
  • Explains that dermo disease is caused by a single celled protozoan parasite. it is spread from oyster to oyster through the water.
  • Explains that dermo disease fluctuates greatly due to temperature and salinity but is still dangerous and deadly to the chesapeake bay oysters.
  • Explains that dermo is not the only disease infecting oysters. there is another disease called msx, which has had a very large impact on the bay's oyster population.
  • Explains that chesapeake bay oysters are developing resistance to the pair of diseases—msx and dermo—that have helped push populations of these iconic shellfish to one percent of historical levels.
  • Explains that over harvesting and disease has pushed oysters to the brink of extinction. agriculture is necessary for human survival.
  • Analyzes how the chemicals and nutrients helped the formation and growth of algae in the bay. the algae is sucking the oxygen out of the water, creating dead zones.
  • Explains that oysters in the chesapeake bay are almost depleted, and the cities that rose with the industry are taking a heavy toll.
  • Explains that oyster sanctuaries are an area blocked from waterman to help oysters grow unharmed. the stronger and bigger reefs provide habitat for other animals crucial to the water quality of the bay.
  • Explains that oyster sanctuaries clean the surrounding waters, restore dead-zones, and help the growth of oysters.
  • Explains that scientists began breeding new oysters in hopes of restoring the bay. aquaculture is keeping the oyster industry in balance economically speaking.
  • Suggests that farmers create grass or forest buffers between personal property and tributaries to the bay, which will help stop runoff water from pollution.
  • Explains that cover crops are planted in open fields designed to cover the farm land. they are usually grown after the main crop is harvested.
  • Explains that some farmers are creating nutrients plans to reduce nutrient pollution while maintaining crop production and increasing farm profits. this technique allows farmers to spend less money on expensive chemicals to treat their crop.
  • Explains that the chesapeake bay oysters are near the brink of extinction.
  • Explains that the chesapeake bay's oyster restoration program is on the right path with new plans president obama put in place.
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