The Chesapeake Bay is an amazing and beautiful place. The Bay covers an area of 4,479 square miles making it the largest estuary in the United States. It drains over 64,000 square miles with a watershed that stretches from Virginia to New York including 6 states and the District of Columbia. An estuary is a body of water where fresh and salt water mix creating a unique ecosystem. The Chesapeake Bay supports more than 3,600 species of plants, fish, and animals and is home to 29 species of waterfowl.
The Bay is also surprisingly shallow. The average depth is 21 feet, but 25% of the Bay is less than 6 feet deep. The size of the Bay’s watershed combined with its shallow waters make it particularly susceptible to pollution. For decades environmentalists have chanted “save the bay!” but the policies implemented by state governments have had mixed results at best. In 2009 the Chesapeake Bay Foundation graded the health of the Bay as a “D” for the 10th year in a row (source).
So why is the Bay so hard to clean up? Continue reading Will we ever finally “Save the Bay”?