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People and Places

The Bay Beautiful

The Chesapeake Bay was formed during the Ice Age from melting glaciers. It’s an estuary, a unique place where saltwater and fresh water mix.

Some of the Bay’s water is from the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the water comes from what is called the “watershed”, a six-state area with over 150 major rivers and streams.

More than 3,600 species of plants, fish, and animals call the Bay home. And every single one of those creatures—from the trees to the grasses to the fish to the birds and even the tiny microscopic animals—play an important role in the Bay’s health.

The Chesapeake Bay is very shallow. On average it’s only about 21 feet deep. If you have a friend who’s 6 feet tall, that person could wade through 700,000 acres of the Bay without even getting their hair wet!

Back in the 1970’s author William Warner wrote the following words as the introduction to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Bay:

“It is so known through the length and breadth of its watershed. The Bay. There is no possible confusion with any other body of water…It is, after all, the continent’s largest estuary. Its waters are rich, the main supply of oysters, crabs, clams, and other seafoods for much of the Atlantic seaboard. Its shorelines cradled our first settlements. It is the Chesapeake.”

The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful national treasure, but it has changed. The waters are no longer the main supplier of seafood for the Eastern seaboard.

But many people are working hard to restore the Bay and make it as clean and healthy as it can be. The future of the Chesapeake Bay and all its tributaries in the 64,000 square miles of watershed will soon rest in the hands of its youngest citizens…YOU.


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