Chesapeake Bay Facts

Chesapeake Bay Facts
Chesapeake Bay is an estuary (partially enclosed brackish body of water) located inland from the Atlantic Ocean along Virginia and Maryland in the United States. To its east lies the Delmarva Peninsula and to its west is the mainland. Chesapeake Bay is considered to be North America's largest estuary, stretching approximately 200 miles in length. It has an average depth of 21 feet and contains over 15 trillion gallons of water. Chesapeake Bay is believed to have formed approximately 12,000 years ago when the Susquehanna River valley was flooded by melting glaciers. Chesapeake Bay is named after the Algonquin word 'Chesepiooc' which means a village 'at a big river'.
Interesting Chesapeake Bay Facts:
Chesapeake Bay was originally referred to as Chesepiook by early explorers, but today is usually referred to as The Bay, The Chesapeake, or the Chesapeake Bay by locals.
Some people believe that Chesapeake Bay may have been formed by an asteroid hitting the earth approximately 35 million years ago, creating a 56 mile wide hole.
In truth it is believed that it was giant glaciers that formed the bay. These mile-thick glaciers began to melt and the water carved rivers and streams and submerged the area.
The watershed of Chesapeake Bay is approximately 64,000 miles in size.
The watershed of Chesapeake Bay encompasses 6 states including West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. Washington, D.C. is also included in the watershed.
There are over 100,000 streams and rivers feeding into Chesapeake Bay.
The bay oysters in Chesapeake Bay were once so abundant that they could filter all the water in the bay in only three days. Because of the overfishing of oysters, it would now take the oyster population in Chesapeake Bay over a year to filter all of the water.
The major pollution source to Chesapeake Bay today is runoff from agriculture in the watershed. Agricultural runoff accounts for approximately 41% of the nitrogen in the bay. This is mainly due to pollution from fertilizers used in farming and from animal waste runoff.
Blue crabs in Chesapeake Bay are still abundant and increased in population by 51% between 2012 and 2013. The blue crab industry in the region is an important part of the economy.
The EPA has designated Chesapeake Bay and many of the rivers and streams that feed it as dirty water, meaning they are not a healthy habitat for aquatic life.
There are more than 2,700 species of wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
In 1989 an effort to clean the bay was started. It was named Clean the Bay Day. Since then the more than 128,000 volunteers have cleaned 6,000 miles of shoreline and removed more than 6 million pounds of garbage and other debris.
The deepest part of Chesapeake Bay is called the Hole and reaches 174 feet in depth, southeast of Annapolis Maryland, off Bloody Point.
Chesapeake Bay is the world's third largest estuary.
Chesapeake Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood every year, yet the oyster harvest is only 1% of what it once was.


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