Chesapeake Bay (/ˈtʃɛsəpiːk/ CHESS-ə-peek) is an estuary in
District of Columbia
District of Columbia and the U.S. states of Maryland, Delaware, and
Virginia, lying inland from the
Atlantic Ocean and surrounded to the
west by the North American mainland and to the east by the Delmarva
Peninsula. With its northern portion in
Maryland and the southern
part in Virginia, the
Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for
the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More
than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the bay's
64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers
parts of six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia and West Virginia) and all of Washington, D.C.
The bay is approximately 200 miles (320 km) long from its
northern headwaters in the
Susquehanna River to its outlet in the
Atlantic Ocean. It is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide at its narrowest
(between Kent County's Plum Point near Newtown and the Harford County
shore near Romney Creek) and 30 miles (48 km) at its widest (just
south of the mouth of the Potomac River). Total shoreline including
tributaries is 11,684 miles (18,804 km), circumnavigating a
surface area of 4,479 square miles (11,601 km2). Average depth is
21 feet (6.4 m), reaching a maximum of 174 feet (53 m).
The bay is spanned twice, in
Maryland by the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
from Sandy Point (near Annapolis) to Kent Island and in
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting
Virginia Beach to Cape
Charles. Known for both its beauty and bounty, the bay has become
"emptier", with fewer crabs, oysters and watermen in past years.
Recent restoration efforts begun in the 1990s have been ongoing and
show potential for growth of the native oyster population. The
health of the
Chesapeake Bay improved in 2015, marking three years of
gains over the past four years, according to a new report by the
University of Maryland.
2 Physical geography
2.1 Geology and formation
3 Flora and fauna
4.1 European exploration and settlement
4.2 American Revolution to the present
6.1 Fishing industry
6.2 Tourism and recreation
7 Environmental problems
7.1 Pollution and runoff
7.2 Depletion of oysters
9 Cultural depictions
9.1 In literature
9.2 In film
9.3 Other media
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
The word Chesepiooc is an Algonquian word referring to a village "at a
big river". It is the seventh oldest surviving English place-name in
the U.S., first applied as "Chesepiook" by explorers heading north
Roanoke Colony into a Chesapeake tributary in 1585 or 1586.
The name may also refer to the
Chesepian or Chesapeake people, a
Native American tribe who inhabited the area now known as South
Hampton Roads in the
U.S. state of Virginia. They occupied an area
which is now the Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and
areas. In 2005, Algonquian linguist
Blair Rudes "helped to dispel
one of the area's most widely held beliefs: that 'Chesapeake' means
something like 'great shellfish bay.' It does not, Rudes said. The
name might actually have meant something like 'great water,' or it
might have just referred to a village location at the bay's
mouth." In addition, the name is almost always prefixed by "the"
in usage by local residents: "The Chesapeake", "The Chesapeake Bay"
and "The Bay".
Geology and formation
Chesapeake Bay is an estuary to the North Atlantic, lying between
Delmarva Peninsula to the east and the North American mainland to
the west. It is the ria, or drowned valley, of the Susquehanna River,
meaning that it was the alluvial plain where the river flowed when the
sea level was lower. It is not a fjord, because the Laurentide Ice
Sheet never reached as far south as the northernmost point on the bay.
North of Baltimore, the western shore borders the hilly Piedmont
region of Maryland; south of the city the bay lies within the state's
low-lying coastal plain, with sedimentary cliffs to the west, and flat
islands, winding creeks and marshes to the east. The large rivers
entering the bay from the west have broad mouths and are extensions of
the main ria for miles up the course of each river.
The bay's geology, its present form, and its very location were
created by a bolide impact event at the end of the
Eocene (about 35.5
million years ago), forming the
Chesapeake Bay impact crater
Chesapeake Bay impact crater and the
Susquehanna River valley much later. The bay was formed starting about
10,000 years ago when rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age
Susquehanna River valley. Parts of the bay, especially
the Calvert County, Maryland, coastline, are lined by cliffs composed
of deposits from receding waters millions of years ago. These cliffs,
generally known as Calvert Cliffs, are famous for their fossils,
especially fossilized shark teeth which are commonly found washed up
on the beaches next to the cliffs.
Scientists' Cliffs is a beach
community in Calvert County named for the desire to create a retreat
for scientists when the community was founded in 1935.
View of the
Eastern Bay in
Maryland at sunset
Chesapeake Bay Bridge, near Annapolis, Maryland
Much of the bay is shallow. At the point where the Susquehanna River
flows into the bay, the average depth is 30 feet (9 m), although
this soon diminishes to an average of 10 feet (3 m) southeast of
the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland, to about 35 feet (11 m)
just north of Annapolis. On average, the depth of the bay is 21 feet
(6.4 m), including tributaries; over 24 percent of the bay is
less than 6 ft (2 m) deep.
Because the bay is an estuary, it has fresh water, salt water and
Brackish water has three salinity zones: oligohaline,
mesohaline, and polyhaline. The freshwater zone runs from the mouth of
Susquehanna River to north Baltimore. The oligohaline zone has
very little salt.
Salinity varies from 0.5 ppt (parts per
thousand) to 10 ppt, and freshwater species can survive there.
The north end of the oligohaline zone is north
Baltimore and the south
end is the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The mesohaline zone has a medium
amount of salt and runs from the Bay Bridge to the mouth of the
Salinity there ranges from 10.7 ppt to
18 ppt. The polyhaline zone is the saltiest zone, and some of the
water can be as salty as sea water. It runs from the mouth of the
Rappahannock River to the mouth of the bay. The salinity ranges from
18.7 ppt to 36 ppt. (36 ppt is as salty as the
The climate of the area surrounding the bay is primarily humid
subtropical, with hot, very humid summers and cold to mild winters.
Only the area around the mouth of the
Susquehanna River is continental
in nature, and the mouth of the
Susquehanna River and the Susquehanna
flats often freeze in winter. It is rare for the surface of the bay to
freeze in winter, something which happened most recently in the winter
The largest rivers flowing directly into the bay, from north to south,
Another river flowing into
Chesapeake Bay is the Wicomico River, not
to be confused with the tributary of the Potomac River.[citation
Flora and fauna
Food chain diagram for waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay is home to numerous fauna that either migrate to
the bay at some point during the year or live there year-round. There
are over 300 species of fish and numerous shellfish and crab species.
Some of these include the Atlantic menhaden, striped bass, American
eel, eastern oyster, and the blue crab.
Birds include ospreys, great blue herons, bald eagles, and
peregrine falcons, the last two of which were threatened by DDT; their
numbers plummeted but have risen in recent years. The piping
plover is a near threatened species which inhabits the wetlands.
Larger fish such as Atlantic sturgeon, varieties of
sharks, and stingrays visit the Chesapeake Bay.[dead link]
The waters of the
Chesapeake Bay have been regarded one of the most
important nursery areas for sharks along east coasts. Megafaunas
such as bull sharks, tiger sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, and
basking sharks and manta rays are also known to visit.
Bottlenose dolphins are known to live seasonally/yearly in the
bay. There have been unconfirmed sightings of humpback whales in
recent years. Endangered North Atlantic right whale and
fin, and minke and sei whales have also been sighted within and in the
vicinity of the bay.
Although the bay is farther north than its typical habitat range, a
male manatee visited the bay several times between 1994 and 2011. The
manatee, recognizable due to distinct markings on its body, was
nicknamed "Chessie" after a legendary sea monster that was allegedly
sighted in the bay during the 20th century. The same
manatee has been spotted as far north as Rhode Island, and was the
first manatee known to travel so far north. Other manatees are
occasionally seen in the bay and its tributaries, which contain sea
grasses that are part of the manatee's diet.
Loggerhead turtles are known to visit the bay.
Chesapeake Bay is also home to a diverse flora, both land and
aquatic. Common submerged aquatic vegetation includes eelgrass and
widgeon grass. A report in 2011 suggested that information on
underwater grasses would be released, because "submerged grasses
provide food and habitat for a number of species, adding oxygen to the
water and improving water clarity." Other vegetation that makes
its home in other parts of the bay are wild rice, various trees like
the red maple, loblolly pine and bald cypress, and spartina grass and
phragmites. Invasive plants have taken a significant foothold in
the bay; plants such as Brazilian waterweed, native to South America,
have spread to most continents with the help of aquarium owners, who
often dump the contents of their aquariums into nearby lakes and
streams. It's highly invasive, and has the potential to flourish in
the low-salinity tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Dense stands of
Brazilian waterweed can restrict water movement, trap sediment and
affect water quality. Various local K-12 schools in the
Virginia region often have programs that cultivate native bay grasses
and plant them in the bay.
European exploration and settlement
Revised map of John White's original by Theodore DeBry. In this
1590 version, the
Chesapeake Bay appears named for the first time.
Later (1630) version of the 1612 map by
Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith during his
exploration of the Chesapeake. The map is oriented with west at top.
In 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, (1485–1528), in
service of the French crown, (famous for sailing through and
thereafter naming the entrance to
New York Bay as the "Verrazzano
Narrows", including now in the 20th century, a suspension bridge also
named for him) sailed past the Chesapeake, but did not enter the
bay. Spanish explorer
Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón sent an expedition
Hispaniola in 1525 which reached the mouths of the Chesapeake
Delaware Bays. It may have been the first European expedition to
explore parts of the Chesapeake Bay, which the Spaniards called
"Bahía de Santa María" ("Bay of St. Mary")or "Bahía de Madre de
Dios."("Bay of the Mother of God") De Ayllón established a
short-lived Spanish mission settlement, San Miguel de Gualdape, in
1526 along the Atlantic coast. Many scholars doubt the assertion that
it was as far north as the Chesapeake; most place it in present-day
Georgia's Sapelo Island. In 1573, Pedro Menéndez de Márquez, the
governor of Spanish Florida, conducted further exploration of the
Chesapeake. In 1570, Spanish
Jesuits established the short-lived
Ajacan Mission on one of the Chesapeake tributaries in present-day
The arrival of English colonists under
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh and Humphrey
Gilbert in the late 16th century to found a colony, later settled at
Roanoke Island (off the present-day coast of North Carolina) for the
Virginia Company, marked the first time that the English approached
the gates to
Chesapeake Bay between the capes of Cape Charles and Cape
Henry. Three decades later, in 1607, Europeans again entered the bay.
Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith of
England explored and mapped the bay between 1607
and 1609, resulting in the publication in 1612 back in the British
Isles of "A Map of Virginia". Smith wrote in his journal: "Heaven
and earth have never agreed better to frame a place for man's
habitation." The new laying out of the "Captain John Smith
Chesapeake National Historic Trail", the United States' first
designated "all-water" National Historic Trail, was created in July
2006, by the
National Park Service
National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the
Interior following the route of Smith's historic 17th-century
voyage. Because of economic hardships and civil strife in the
"Mother Land", there was a mass migration of southern English
Cavaliers and their servants to the
Chesapeake Bay region between 1640
and 1675, to both of the new colonies of the Province of
the Province of Maryland.
American Revolution to the present
Chesapeake Bay was the site of the
Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of the Chesapeake (also
known as the "Battle of the Capes", Cape Charles and Cape Henry) in
1781, during which the French fleet defeated the
Royal Navy in the
decisive naval battle of the American Revolutionary War. The British
defeat enabled General
George Washington and his French allied armies
under Comte de Rochambeau to march down from New York and bottle up
the rampaging southern
British Army of
Lord Cornwallis from the North
and South Carolinas at the siege of Battle of Yorktown in Yorktown,
Virginia. Their marching route from Newport,
Rhode Island through
Connecticut, New York State, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and
the "Head of Elk" by the
Susquehanna River along the shores and also
partially sailing down the bay to Virginia. It is also the subject of
National Historic Trail under the National Park Service
as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.
The bay would again see conflict during War of 1812. During the year
of 1813, from their base on Tangier Island, British naval forces under
the command of Admiral
George Cockburn raided and plundered several
towns on the shores of the Chesapeake, treating the bay as if it were
a "British Lake". The
Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, a fleet of
shallow-draft armed barges under the command of U.S. Navy Commodore
Joshua Barney, was assembled to stall British shore raids and attacks.
After months of harassment by Barney, the British landed on the west
side of the Patuxent at Benedict, Maryland, the Chesapeake Flotilla
was scuttled, and the British trekked overland to burn the US Capitol
in August 1814. A few days later in a "pincer attack", they also
sailed up the
Potomac River to attack Fort Washington below the
National Capital and demanded a ransom from the nearby port town of
There were so-called "Oyster Wars" in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. Until the mid-20th century, oyster harvesting rivaled the
crab industry among Chesapeake watermen, a dwindling breed whose
skipjacks and other workboats were supplanted by recreational craft in
the latter part of the century.
In the 1960s, the
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant on the historic
Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County on the
Western Shore of Maryland
began using water from the bay to cool its reactor.
Lighthouses and lightships such as Chesapeake have helped guide ships
into the bay
Chesapeake Bay forms a link in the Intracoastal Waterway, of the
bays, sounds and inlets between the off-shore barrier islands and the
coastal mainland along the Atlantic coast connecting the Chesapeake
Delaware Canal (linking the bay to the north and the Delaware
River) with the
Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal
Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal (linking the bay, to
the south, via the Elizabeth River, by the cities of Norfolk and
Portsmouth to the
Albemarle Sound and
Pamlico Sound in North Carolina
and further to the Sea Islands of Georgia). A busy shipping channel
(dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since the 1850s) runs the
length of the bay, is an important transit route for large vessels
entering or leaving the Port of Baltimore, and further north through
the Chesapeake and
Delaware Canal to the ports of Wilmington and
Philadelphia on the
During the later half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th
century, the bay was plied by passenger steamships and packet boat
lines connecting the various cities on it, notably the
Packet Company ("Old Bay Line").
In the later 20th century, a series of road crossings were built. One,
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Chesapeake Bay Bridge (also known as the Governor William Preston
Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge) between the state capital of Annapolis,
Maryland and Matapeake on the Eastern Shore, crossing Kent Island, was
constructed 1949-1952. A second, parallel, span was added in 1973. The
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, connecting Virginia's Eastern Shore with
its mainland (at the metropolitan areas of
Virginia Beach, Norfolk,
Portsmouth, and Chesapeake), is approximately 20 miles (32 km)
long; it has trestle bridges as well as two stretches of two-mile-long
(3.2 km) tunnels which allow unimpeded shipping; the bridge is
supported by four 5.25-acre (21,200 m2) man-made islands. The
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was opened for two lanes in 1964 and four
lanes in 1999.
Chesapeake Bay tides from
Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay
Bridge Tunnel for quarter and full moons during June 2013.
Tides in the
Chesapeake Bay exhibit an interesting and unique behavior
due to the nature of the topography (both horizontal and vertical
shape), wind driven circulation, and how the bay interacts with
oceanic tides. Research into the peculiar behavior of tides both at
the northern and southern extents of the bay began in the late 1970s.
One study noted sea level fluctuations at periods of 5 days, driven by
sea level changes at the bay’s mouth on the Atlantic coast and local
lateral winds, and 2.5 days, caused by resonant oscillations driven by
local longitudinal winds, while another study later found that the
geometry of the bay permits for a resonant period of 1.46 days.
A good example of how the different
Chesapeake Bay sites experience
different tides can be seen in the tidal predictions published by the
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (see
figure at right).
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) site, which lies at the
southernmost point of the bay where it meets the
Atlantic Ocean near
Virginia and the capes of Charles and Henry, there is a
distinct semi-diurnal tide throughout the lunar month, with small
amplitude modulations during spring (new/full moon) vs. neap
(one/three quarter moon) tidal periods. The main forcing of the CBBT
tides are typical, semi-diurnal ocean tides that the East Coast of the
United States experiences.
Baltimore, in the northern portion of the bay, experiences a
noticeable modulation to form its mixed tidal nature during spring vs.
neap tides. Spring tides, when the sun-earth-moon system forms a line,
cause the largest tidal amplitudes during lunar monthly tidal
variations. In contrast, neap tides, when the sun-earth-moon system
forms a right angle, are muted, and in a semi-diurnal tidal system
(such as that seen at the CBBT site) this can be seen as a lowest
Two interesting points that arise from comparing these two sites at
opposite ends of the bay are their tidal characteristics -
semi-diurnal tide for CBBT and mixed tide for
Baltimore (due to
resonance in the bay) - and the differences in amplitude (due to
dissipation in the bay).
A skipjack, part of the oystering fleet in Maryland
The bay is mostly known for its seafood production, especially blue
crabs, clams and oysters. In the middle of the 20th century, the
bay supported 9,000 full-time watermen, according to one account.
Today, the body of water is less productive than it used to be because
of runoff from urban areas (mostly on the Western Shore) and farms
(especially on the Eastern Shore and in the Susquehanna River
watershed), over-harvesting, and invasion of foreign species.
The plentiful oyster harvests led to the development of the skipjack,
the state boat of Maryland, which is the only remaining working boat
type in the
United States still under sail power. Other characteristic
bay-area workboats include sail-powered boats such as the log canoe,
the pungy, the bugeye, and the motorized
Chesapeake Bay deadrise, the
state boat of Virginia.
In contrast to harvesting wild oysters, oyster farming is a growing
industry for the bay to help maintain the estuary's productivity as
well as a natural effort for filtering impurities such as excess
nutrients from the water in an effort to reduce the effects of
man-made pollution. The
Chesapeake Bay Program
Chesapeake Bay Program is using oysters to
reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds entering the Chesapeake
Oysters are hermaphroditic and will change gender at least once during
their lifetime, often starting as male and ending as female; there are
numerous ways to cook and eat them, as well as recipes and sauces to
accompany oyster dishes. One account:
The Chesapeake oyster – sometimes called Chesapeake white
gold – has a flavor and texture that begs connoisseurs to come
back and shuck just a few more.
— Kendra Bailey Morris, NPR, 2007
The bay is famous for its rockfish, a regional name for striped bass.
Once on the verge of extinction, rockfish have made a significant
comeback because of legislative action that put a moratorium on
rockfishing, which allowed the species to re-populate. Rockfish can
now be fished in strictly controlled and limited quantities.
Tourism and recreation
Thomas Point Shoal Light
Thomas Point Shoal Light in Maryland
Chesapeake Bay is a main feature for tourists who visit Maryland
Virginia each year. Fishing, crabbing, swimming,
boating, kayaking, and sailing are extremely popular activities
enjoyed on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, tourism has
a notable impact on Maryland's economy. One report suggested that
Annapolis was an appealing spot for families, water sports and
boating. Commentator Terry Smith spoke about the bay's beauty:
The water is glassy, smooth and gorgeous, his wake white against the
deep blue. That's the problem with the Chesapeake. It's so damned
One account suggested how the Chesapeake attracts people:
You see them everywhere on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the weekend
sailors. They are unmistakable with their deep tans, their baggy
shorts, their frayed polo shirts, their Top-Siders worn without socks.
Some may not even own their own boats, much less win regattas, but
they are inexorably drawn to the Chesapeake Bay ... I planned to
spend my days boating, eating as many
Chesapeake Bay blue crabs as
possible and making a little study of Eastern Shore locals. For city
folk like me, they're interesting, even exotic –the
weather-beaten crabbers and oystermen called "watermen,"
gentlemen-farmers and sharecroppers, boat builders, antiques
dealers – all of whom sound like Southerners with mouthfuls of
marbles when they talk. — Susan Spano, Los Angeles Times, 2008
Pollution and runoff
Chesapeake Bay Program
Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay
Environmental Protection Agency photo of dead menhaden floating in the
bay in June 1973
Reeds along the bay
In the 1970s, the
Chesapeake Bay was found to contain one of the
planet's first identified marine dead zones, where waters were so
depleted of oxygen that they were unable to support life, resulting in
massive fish kills. Today the bay's dead zones are estimated to kill
75,000 tons of bottom-dwelling clams and worms each year, weakening
the base of the estuary's food chain and robbing the blue crab in
particular of a primary food source. Crabs are sometimes observed to
amass on shore to escape pockets of oxygen-poor water, a behavior
known as a "crab jubilee". Hypoxia results in part from large algal
blooms, which are nourished by the runoff of residential, farm and
industrial waste throughout the watershed. One report in 2010
Amish farmers for having cows which "generate heaps of
manure that easily washes into streams and flows onward into the
U.S. Navy sailors looking for trash during "Clean The Bay Day" in 2008
The runoff and pollution have many components that help contribute to
the algal bloom, which is mainly fed by phosphorus and nitrogen.
This algae prevents sunlight from reaching the bottom of the bay while
alive and deoxygenates the bay's water when it dies and rots. The
erosion and runoff of sediment into the bay, exacerbated by
devegetation, construction and the prevalence of pavement in urban and
suburban areas, also blocks vital sunlight. The resulting loss of
aquatic vegetation has depleted the habitat for much of the bay's
animal life. Beds of eelgrass, the dominant variety in the southern
Chesapeake Bay, have shrunk by more than half there since the early
1970s. Overharvesting, pollution, sedimentation and disease have
turned much of the bay's bottom into a muddy wasteland.
One particularly harmful source of toxicity is Pfiesteria piscicida,
which can affect both fish and humans. Pfiesteria caused a small
regional panic in the late 1990s when a series of large blooms started
killing large numbers of fish while giving swimmers mysterious rashes;
nutrient runoff from chicken farms was blamed for the growth.
The bay improved slightly in terms of the overall health of its
ecosystem, earning a rating of 31 out of 100 in 2010, up from 28 in
2008. An estimate in 2006 from a "blue ribbon panel" said cleanup
costs would be $15 billion. Compounding the problem is that
100,000 new residents move to the area each year. A report in 2008
in the Washington Post suggested that government administrators had
overstated progress on cleanup efforts as a way to "preserve the flow
of federal and state money to the project." In January 2011, there
were reports that millions of fish had died, but officials suggested
it was probably the result of extremely cold weather.
Depletion of oysters
Oyster boats at war off the
Maryland shore (1886 wood engraving).
Regulation of the oyster beds in
Maryland has existed
since the 19th century.
While the bay's salinity is ideal for oysters and the oyster fishery
was at one time the bay's most commercially viable, the population
has in the last fifty years been devastated.
Maryland once had roughly
200,000 acres (810 km2) of oyster reefs. Today it has about
36,000. It has been estimated that in pre-colonial times, oysters
could filter the entirety of the bay in about 3.3 days; by 1988 this
time had increased to 325 days. The harvest's gross value
decreased 88% from 1982 to 2007. One report suggested the bay had
fewer oysters in 2008 than 25 years earlier.
A cluster of oysters grown in a sanctuary
The primary problem is overharvesting. Lax government regulations
allow anyone with a license to remove oysters from state-owned beds,
and although limits are set, they are not strongly enforced. The
overharvesting of oysters has made it difficult for them to reproduce,
which requires close proximity to one another. A second cause for the
oyster depletion is that the drastic increase in human population
caused a sharp increase in pollution flowing into the bay. The
bay's oyster industry has also suffered from two diseases: MSX and
The depletion of oysters has had a particularly harmful effect on the
quality of the bay.
Oysters serve as natural water filters, and their
decline has further reduced the water quality of the bay. Water that
was once clear for meters is now so turbid that a wader may lose sight
of his feet while his knees are still dry.
Efforts of federal, state and local governments, working in
partnership through the
Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation and other nonprofit environmental groups, to restore or at
least maintain the current water quality have had mixed results. One
particular obstacle to cleaning up the bay is that much of the
polluting substances arise far upstream in tributaries lying within
states far removed from the bay. Despite the state of Maryland
spending over $100 million to restore the bay, conditions have
continued to grow worse. Twenty years ago, the bay supported over six
thousand oystermen. There are now fewer than 500.
Efforts to repopulate the bay via hatcheries have been carried out by
a group called the Oyster Recovery Partnership, with some success.
They recently placed 6 million oysters on eight acres (32,000 m2)
of the Trent Hall sanctuary. Scientists from the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary claim
that experimental reefs created in 2004 now house 180 million native
oysters, Crassostrea virginica, which is far fewer than the billions
that once existed.
There are several magazines and publications that cover topics
directly related to the
Chesapeake Bay and life and tourism within the
The Capital, a newspaper based in Annapolis, reports about news
pertaining to the
Western Shore of
Maryland and the Annapolis
Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Prop
Talk focus on powerboating,
while SpinSheet focuses on sailing.
Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the
Chesapeake Bay (1976) is a
Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction book by
William W. Warner about the
Chesapeake Bay, blue crabs and watermen.
Chesapeake, a 1978 novel by author James A. Michener
John Barth wrote two novels featuring Chesapeake Bay; Sabbatical: A
Romance (1982) centered on a yacht race through the bay, and The
Tidewater Tales (1987) detailed a married couple telling stories to
each other as they cruise the bay.
Jacob Have I Loved
Jacob Have I Loved (1980) by Katherine Paterson, winner of the 1981
Newbery Medal. This is a novel about the relationship between two
sisters in a waterman family who grow up on an island in the bay.
In Tom Clancy's 1987 book Patriot Games, the main protagonist Jack
Ryan lives on the fictional Peregrine Cliffs which overlook the
Class conflict between waterman people and wealthy newcomers was
portrayed in Priscilla Cummings's novel Red Kayak.
Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman series, starting with Dicey's Song, are set
Crisfield on the Chesapeake Bay.
The Bay, a 2012 found footage-style eco-horror movie about a pandemic
due to deadly pollution from chicken factory farm run-off and mutant
isopods and aquatic parasites able to infect humans.
Singer and songwriter Tom Wisner recorded several albums, often about
the Chesapeake Bay.
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe wrote that Wisner "always tried
to capture the voice of the water and the sky, of the rocks and the
trees, of the fish and the birds, of the gods of nature he believed
still watched over it all." He was known as the Bard of the
The 1976 hit "Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck refers to Chesapeake
Bay: "I'll take you on a trip beside the ocean / And drop the top at
Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
List of islands in
Maryland (with the islands in the Bay)
National Estuarine Research Reserve
Old Bay Seasoning
^ "Estimated Streamflow Entering Chesapeake Bay". ME-DE-DC Water
Science Center. U.S. Geological Survey. 2011-05-05. Retrieved
^ a b c Leslie kaufman (December 28, 2010). "More Blue Crabs, but
Chesapeake Bay Is Still at Risk, Report Says". The New York Times.
^ a b "Fact Sheet 102-98 – The Chesapeake Bay: Geologic Product of
Rising Sea Level". U. S. Geological Survey. 1998-11-18. Retrieved
^ "Chesapeake Bay, VA/MD (M130) Bathymetric Digital ElevationModel (30
meter resolution) Derived From Source Hydrographic Survey Soundings
Collected by NOAA". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2013-05-17. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved
^ a b David A. Fahrenthold (December 28, 2008). "Way of Life Slipping
Away Along Chesapeake's Edge". Washington Post. Retrieved
^ "Signs of a
Chesapeake Bay oyster comeback". 19 November 2013 –
^ Kuebler, Brian (1 February 2015). "
Maryland oysters making a
comeback". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
Chesapeake Bay at healthiest level in years".
^ Also shown as "Chisupioc" (by John Smith) and "Chisapeack", in
Algonquian "che" means "big" or "great", "sepi" means river, and the
"oc" or "ok" ending indicated something (a village, in this case) "at"
that feature. "Sepi" is also found in another placename of Algonquian
origin, Mississippi. The name was soon transferred by the English from
the big river and the village at that site to the entire bay. Stewart,
George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming
in the United States. New York: Random House. p. 23.
^ Farenthold, David A. (2006-12-12). "A Dead Indian Language Is
Brought Back to Life". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved
^ Program, Chesapeake Bay. "Facts & Figures - Chesapeake Bay
^ "FAQ". Scientists Cliffs community. Archived from the original on
January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Archived from the original
on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-21. Other sources give
values of 25 feet (e.g. "Charting the Chesapeake 1590-1990". Maryland
State Archives. Retrieved 2008-04-21. ) or 30 feet (9.1 m)
deep ("Healthy Chesapeake Waterways" (PDF). University of Maryland
Center for Environmental Science. Archived from the original (PDF) on
2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-04-21. )
Chesapeake Bay Program: A Watershed Partnership: Facts &
Figures". chesapeakebay.net (
Chesapeake Bay Program
Chesapeake Bay Program Office).
2010-05-04. Archived from the original on 2010-12-04. Retrieved
^ "Figure 1. Map of
Chesapeake Bay and salinity zones. Salinity
^ "The Big Freeze". Time. 1977-01-31. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
^ A Comprehensive List of
Chesapeake Bay Basin Species. Annapolis, MD:
Chesapeake Bay Program. 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
^ a b Elton Dunn, Demand Media (2011-04-20). "
Chesapeake Bay Kayak
Tours". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ a b Blankenship, Karl (September 1995). "Endangered Species Around
the Chesapeake". 5 (6).
^ "Atlantic Sturgeon".
Chesapeake Bay Program. Retrieved December 21,
Chesapeake Bay News. 2010. Are there sharks in the Chesapeake
Bay?. Retrieved on December 21. 2014
^ Shinkman D.P.. Sharks in the Chesapeake: More likely than thought.
The WTOP-FM. Retrieved on December 21. 2014
^ a b c Lippson J.A.; Lippson L.R. (2006), Life in the Chesapeake Bay,
Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 275–281, retrieved
2014-12-21 [dead link]
^ a b The National Aquarium. Sharks Among Us:
Chesapeake Bay Species
Archived 2014-10-24 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on December 22.
^ "Bottlenose Dolphin".
Chesapeake Bay Program. Retrieved December 21,
^ O'BRIEN D.. 1992. Whale in Chesapeake Provides Reminders About
Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on December 21. 2014
^ The Southside Sentinel. 2010. Whale sighted in the Chesapeake Bay.
Retrieved on December 21. 2014
^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2010. NOAA: Ship
Speed Restrictions to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.
Retrieved on December 22. 2014
^ "Four rare
Chesapeake Bay "oddities" to learn about this leap year".
Chesapeake Bay Program. February 27, 2012. Retrieved December 21,
^ Kilar, Steve; Wheeler, Timothy B. (July 15, 2011). "Chessie the
manatee is back in the bay". The
Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 29,
^ Beck, Cathy; Pawlitz, Rachel; Bloomer, Jen (September 2011). "Famous
Manatee "Chessie" Sighted in
Chesapeake Bay After Long Absence". Sound
Waves. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
^ Hamilton, Hannah; Puckett, Catherine (September 2006). "Manatee
Traveler in Northeastern Waters Not Chessie". Sound Waves. U.S.
Geological Survey. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
^ Hedgpeth, Dana (July 16, 2015). "
Manatee spotted in tributary off
Chesapeake Bay near Waldorf, Md". The Washington Post. Retrieved
January 29, 2017.
Chesapeake Bay Program
Chesapeake Bay Program to release new data on underwater grasses in
bay, rivers". Washington Post. Associated Press. April 20, 2011.
Retrieved 2011-04-20. [dead link]
^ Domes S., Lewis M., Moran R., Nyman D.. “Chesapeake Bay
Wetlands”. Emporia State University. May 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
^ orientation of map depicts west at top
^ Woodard, Buck (2006-11-22). COLONIAL A Study of
Virginia Indians and
Jamestown: The First Century. Washington, DC: National Park Service.
p. APPENDIX A. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
^ a b Parramore, Thomas (2000). Norfolk: The First Four Centuries.
pp. 1–16. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
^ Grymes, Charles A. "Spanish in the Chesapeake". Retrieved
^ Weber, David (1994). The Spanish Frontier in North America. New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press. pp. 36, 37.
^ "Smith's Maps".
Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical
Trail. National Park Service. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
^ a b c d Terry Smith (commentator), Michele Norris (host) (April 13,
2006). "The Chesapeake Bay, Scenic and Unhealthy". NPR. Retrieved
^ "H.R. 5466 [109th]
Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic
Trail Designation Act". GovTrack.us. Retrieved December 16,
^ a b c Morris, Kendra Bailey (November 21, 2007). "Consider the
Chesapeake Bay Oyster". NPR. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
^ "CBBT Facts".
^ Wollf, J.D. (April 20, 2011). "Fishing at the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Tunnel". USA Today. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
^ Wang, D.-P. 1979. Subtidal Sea Level Variations in the Chesapeake
Bay and Relations to Atmospheric Forcing. Journal of Physical
Oceanography. Vol. 9. pp. 413–421.
^ Wang, D-P. and A.J. Elliott. Non-Tidal Variability in the Chesapeake
Bay and Potomac River: Evidence for Non-Local Forcing. Journal of
Physical Oceanography. Vol. 8. pp. 225–232.
^ a b Grimes, William (April 30, 2008). "William W. Warner, Chesapeake
Bay Author, Dies at 88". New York Times. Retrieved April 20,
Chesapeake Bay Workboats".
Chesapeake Bay Gateway Network.
^ Department of Natural Resources. "Oyster Restoration Projected to
Provide Significant Boost to Bay Grasses While Removing Nitrogen
Pollution from the Bay". Maryland. Archived from the original on
^ Harvey M. Katz (2009-08-27). "
Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
Targeting Resources to Better Protect the
Chesapeake Bay is Aim of
U.S. Department of Agriculture's 202(b) Report".
Executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
^ Anne glusker (October 9, 2005). "A Treasure Chest of Fun on
Chesapeake Bay". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ Susan spano (June 23, 2002). "Peak Season on Chesapeake Bay". Los
Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ Sindya n. bhanoo (June 8, 2010). "
Amish Farming Draws Rare
Government Scrutiny". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ Dennen, R. (2009-10-30). "Is it time we put the ailing Bay on
diet?". The Free Lance Star. Retrieved 2010-02-17
^ "Bad Water and the Decline of Blue Crabs in the Chesapeake Bay".
Chesapeake Bay Foundation. December 2008. Archived from the original
on 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
^ Fahrenthold, David A. (2008-09-12). "Md. Gets Tough on Chicken
Farmers". Washington Post.
^ David A. Fahrenthold (December 27, 2008). "Failing the Chesapeake
Bay – Broken Promises on the Bay". Washington Post. Retrieved
^ "Two Million Dead
Fish Appear in Chesapeake Bay". CBS News. Jan 5,
2011. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ a b c d Oysters: Gem of the Ocean, The Economist, December 8, 2008;
accessed September 2, 2009.
^ "Oyster Reefs: Ecological importance". US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on October 3,
2008. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
^ "Estimating Net Present Value in the Northern
Chesapeake Bay Oyster
Fishery" (PDF). NOAA
Chesapeake Bay Office. 2008-11-07. Archived from
the original (PDF) on June 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
^ "Research –
Virginia Institute of Marine
Science. 2007-03-16. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007.
^ Urbina, Ian (November 29, 2008). "In Maryland, Focus on Poultry
Industry Pollution". The New York Times: A14.
^ Program turns pork into oysters Archived 2011-04-12 at the Wayback
Machine., Jesse Yeatman, South
Maryland Newspapers Online, August 12,
Oysters Are on the Rebound in the Chesapeake Bay, Henry Fountain,
The New York Times, August 3, 2009; accessed September 8, 2009.
^ "Top Stories".
The Capital Newspaper. Capital Gazette
Communications. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009.
Retrieved April 22, 2011.
Chesapeake Bay Magazine". Retrieved April 22, 2011.
^ "PropTalk". Prop
Talk Media LLC. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
^ "SpinSheet". SpinSheet Publishing Co. Retrieved April 22,
^ a b Jenna Johnson (April 9, 2010). "Tom Wisner; Chesapeake Bay
served as bard's muse; at 79". Boston Globe. Retrieved
Cleaves, E.T. et al. (2006). Quaternary geologic map of the Chesapeake
Bay 4º x 6º quadrangle,
United States [Miscellaneous Investigations
Series; Map I-1420 (NJ-18)]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the
Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
Crawford, S. 2012. Terrapin Bay Fishing.
Chesapeake Bay Tides and
Meyers, Debra and Perrealt, Melanie (eds.) (2014). Order and Civility
in the Early Modern Chesapeake. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Phillips, S.W., ed. (2007). Synthesis of U.S. Geological Survey
science for the
Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and implications for
environmental management [U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1316].
Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
Thomas, William G., III. "The Chesapeake Bay." Southern Spaces, April
William W. Warner, Beautiful Swimmers, about the history, ecology and
anthropology of the Chesapeake Bay, published 1976
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chesapeake Bay.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chesapeake Bay.
National Geographic – Saving The Chesapeake
National Geographic – Exploring The Chesapeake Then and Now
Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail.
Maryland Center for Environmental Science Research and
science application activities emphasizing
Chesapeake Bay and its
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Eyes on the Bay Real-time and
Chesapeake Bay water quality and satellite data.
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