The Chesapeake Bay
What is the Chesapeake Bay? The Chesapeake Bay the largest bay of the United States, Covering more than 64,000 miles^2. But with how big The Chesapeake Bay is, comes along many problems that it is required to face due mostly from human activities. These problems consist of stormwater runoff pollution, animal waste pollution, and sea-level rise
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation
In 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation—which coined the slogan “Save the Bay” was founded as a private-sector response to a perceived disregard by industries and government to the bay’s health. About 50 years later, despite a population explosion, the Chesapeake is, by most measures, doing better than it was. Unfortunately, environmentalists say there’s a long way to go, particularly regarding managing runoff from farms and city streets and improving the health of crab and oyster populations, which have been decimated by disease, pollution, and “dead zones” areas with low amounts of oxygen, caused by excessive nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
What are Oysters?
Oysters are considered the living filters within a body of water. They live off natural particles coming off various sea creatures, keeping the water clean for all to inhabit. Not only do they cleanse the waters, but they are also the food providers for some creatures as well. In more of a prey introspect, they are the natural food option for:
Anemones, sea nettles, and other filter feeders feed on oyster larvae.
Flatworms and mud crabs feed on the new spat.
Blue crabs and some fish feed on older spat and first-year oysters.
Shorebirds feed on adult oysters exposed on intertidal flats.
What caused the Oyster population to Decline?
According to the Chesapeake Bay Program-
“In the 1600s, forests covered 95 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Today, our most recent data show that 57 percent of the watershed—about 24 million acres—is forested. More than 70 percent of this sensitive ecosystem should be forested if it is to remain healthy in the face of continued pollution.”
Forests are crucial to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. It protects clean air and water, provide habitat to wildlife, store carbon, control floods and support the region’s economy. But human activities have reduced tree cover and fragmented the forests that still exist. When forests are destroyed and fragmented by development, their ecological services, and economic benefits are lost. Conserving and expanding forest cover is a critical, cost-effective way to reduce pollution and restore the Bay.