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Estuary Review Slides. 2008. Estuaries. PowerPoint Done By: Mary McLachlan & Annie Yu. How Does It Get There?.

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PowerPoint Done By:

Mary McLachlan & Annie Yu

how does it get there
How Does It Get There?
  • The largest amount of nitrogen entering the Bay is contributed by the Susquehanna River, which drains some of the most productive agricultural land in the Nation.
  • Approximately 30 million pounds of phosphorus entered the Bay from its nine major tributaries. About 90 percent of that amount came from the Susquehanna, the Potomac, and the James Rivers. Phosphorus levels entering the Bay from the Susquehanna River are low in comparison to its water contribution. Phosphorus, which is bound to soil particles, gets trapped behind a series of dams in the river. The high level of phosphorus entering the Bay from the James River compared to its water contribution may be related to discharge from sewage-treatment plants inputs.
  • Sources of DO to the Bay include:
    • Oxygen from the atmosphere that dissolves and mixes into surface waters.
    • Algae and underwater bay grasses, which release oxygen during photosynthesis.
    • Water flowing into the Bay from streams, rivers and the ocean. Ocean waters generally have higher DO levels, while fast-moving waters from rivers flowing into the Bay help mix in oxygen from the air.
why a problem
Why a Problem?

Nitrogen and Phosphorus are both types of nutrients contributing to the Bay's poor water quality. While both are needed for plant growth, human activities contribute more nitrogen than the Bay's waters can handle. Elevated nitrogen levels cause more algae to grow, blocking out sunlight and reducing oxygen for fish, blue crabs and other Bay life.

The Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone,” stretching for hundreds of square miles during the summer, has too little oxygen to support a healthy ecosystem. The “dead zone” has a devastating impact on the creatures living in the Bay and its tributaries. Like animals on land, nearly all of the Chesapeake Bay’s aquatic life, from worms and crabs on the bottom, to perch and striped bass above and underwater grasses in between, depend on oxygen to survive. Low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, called hypoxia, can impair growth and reproduction and stress living resources, making them vulnerable to disease.  Water with no oxygen, called anoxic, will kill most aquatic animals.

  • The pollution-reduction target was developed to improve and maintain the water quality of Chesapeake Bay and to ensure the productivity of the Bay's resources.
  • Solutions:
    • statewide bans on detergents with phosphorus; control of runoff from urban areas, farmland, and pastures; improvements in sewage treatment; and preservation of forest and wetlands, which act as buffers to nutrient-pollution inputs.
  • Water samples are collected from the Bay's nine largest tributaries to evaluate pollution-reduction strategies and to determine whether the goal of a 40-percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus is being met.
  • Pollution-reduction measures are evaluated by comparing concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in water samples that have been collected for a long period of time.
  • The best thing that can be done to address the low DO problems in the Bay is to reduce nitrogen pollution from farmland and urban runoff, airborne sources such as vehicles and power plants, and sewage treatment plants.  Additionally, the Bay’s natural defense systems such as forestlands, wetlands, oysters and underwater grasses need to be restored in order to help the bay protect itself.

An estuary is a coastal area where fresh water mixes with salt water.

A watershed is land in which runoff water drains into an estuary. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 200 miles long and covers 64,299 square miles.

Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are necessary for plant growth and human activity. Animals need DO in the water to breath.

Flushing time is the time required to replace the existing freshwater accumulated in the estuary by the river discharge It can assist in determining allowable disposal loads for a particular estuary, helping to rid the estuary excess nitrogen and phosphorus.

Our Solution: We need to make aware of the problems that are occurring in the Chesapeake Bay by nitrogen, phosphorus, and DO. Stricter regulations must be made to fertilizers, household cleaners, and especially the sewage system that pollute the Bay. Each State needs to work together to establish laws and fight for the budget to prevent the Bay from deteriorating. The Government is spending so much money on the War that they are forgetting that many of the natural beauties in the U.S. are fighting to survive. The tests taken place to compare the concentration levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and DO need to be more frequent and taken seriously. By doing this the levels of each will decrease and allow the organisms in the water to breath and live safer lives in the Bay.

nitrogen phosphorus and dissolved oxygen

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, And Dissolved Oxygen

By Stephanie Margolin and Cole Brundage

-An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meet and mix with salt water from the ocean.

-A watershed is the area of land where all of the water comes from that goes into the main body of water

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff is a large problem in the Chesapeake bay.
  • These pollutants greatly decrease the water quality of the Bay
  • Nitrogen was a F 17 No Change from last year
  • Phosphorus was D- 23 Got worse from last year

-Nitrogen comes from the overflow of sewage treatment plants. The fact that sewage plants are allowed to dump sewage into the waterways is a relic of the past when this conduct was allowed

-Phosphorus comes from runoff of land. Phosphorus is a large component of fertilizers used in commercial and residential areas. The phosphorus is the washed to the waters in the form of runoff when it rains

-The reason there is a shortage of dissolved oxygen in the bay is the Algae bloom.

The pollution caused by rain runoff causes algae to grow uncontrollably

When the algae decomposes, it uses up the dissolved oxygen.

This creates massive dead zones in the bay in which no animals can live

-the slow flushing time of the bay causes the pollutants nitrogen and phosphorus and low dissolved oxygen levels to remain in the bay for a long time


Nitrogen, phosphorus, and Dissolved Oxygen

By Stephanie Margolin and Cole Brundage


-The clean water act limits the amount of nitrogen that can be released from water treatment plants. The limits are sometimes exceeded.

-Because the government usually runs the sewage treatment plants, they are not going to fine themselves

What is being done

-Because a big source of this pollution is nitrogen from sewage plants, the governments of the states of the watershed are now funding upgrades of sewage plants that stop the emission of nitrogen into the water.

-The Chesapeake bay foundation has filed law suits against the governments of states who are not cooperating with the clean water act

-Environmental groups advise people not to fertilize their grass with dangerous fertilizers because they may get into the storm drains and into the waterways

The Chesapeake bay watershed is bigger than you think!

nitrogen phosphorus and dissolved oxygen by stephanie margolin and cole brundage
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and Dissolved OxygenBy Stephanie Margolin and Cole Brundage

Solution to the problem

-The first step is to eliminate all discharge from sewage treatment plants into rivers except for pure water. The pollutants should be stored or processed into other materials

-The second step is to create more and not destroy any undeveloped areas next to water

-Storm drains must go through a filter process to remove pollutants before being dumped into the waterways

-If these things were done, the only pollutants that would get into the water would be from runoff

-Progress would be measured by the Chesapeake bay report as usual, except this time, the score would go up

-With the removal of the main sources of pollution, the bay would become a healthier body of water

The Dead zone in 2005 was of great magnitude

The areas in red on the map are places where there is not enough dissolved oxygen for animals to live


Nitrogen, phosphorus, and Dissolved Oxygen

By Stephanie Margolin and Cole Brundage


-With decreased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, the Dissolved Oxygen levels would go up and the size of dead zones would decrease

This would allow for more organisms to prosper in the bay, and for populations of pollution affected organisms to rebound


water clarity
Water Clarity
  • Water clarity is a measure of how clear water is.
  • To be more specific, water clarity is a measure of how far down light penetrates through
  • Water. The deeper light penetrates, the clearer the water.
  • How far down light penetrates through water depends on how many particles are suspended in the water. Suspended particles reduce water clarity by absorbing and scattering light.
  • Scientists often estimate water clarity by measuring Secchi depth.
  • Secchi depth is the distance at which a Secchi disk can no longer be seen as it is lowered into the water.
importance to underwater grasses
Importance to underwater grasses

Water clarity is important to the underwater grasses because the amount of light that reaches these underwater plants growing in the Bay's shallow waters is the single most important factor determining their growth and survival. The fish located in the bay also need good water clarity to see their food or avoid being eaten

concerns with the bay and clarity
Concerns with the Bay and clarity

Environmental concerns were voiced in the 1970s over the damage to key habitats and the decline in water quality. Species in bay waters were being negatively affected, resulting in threats to the commercial and recreational activities.

Most marine scientists believe that these changes are related to ecological stress due to increased human activities. Causes include deforestation, agriculture (including fertilizers), urbanization, pollution, and sewage. The Chesapeake Bay Commission predicts that by the year 2020, the population of the bay watershed will increase to 17.4 million. Without additional environment attention on the bay ecosystems, the Commission predicts that stress on the natural system will increase dramatically.”

problems and reducing
Problems and reducing

Sewage as well as discharge from boats are two major pollutants of the Chesapeake Bay. Budget allowances would be required in order to construct public as well as private sewage facilities. A further step would be to reduce the amount of untreated sewage that is dumped into the bay from sewer overflows and failing septic systems. Pollution discharges should also be eliminated from recreational boats

Another major problem is sedimentation. Steps should be taken to reduce the amount of erosion and limit the amount of dirt that is being dumped into the bay. In order to restore underwater grasses, freshwater flows and streams would need to be preserved in order to maintain estuarine habitats.

water clarity underwater grasses

Water Clarity & Underwater Grasses


Claire Beadling

Jamie White

Priya Vyas

water clarity17
Water Clarity

Defined- how deep light penetrates

Plants need for photosynthesis

Bad Clarity from- sediment (erosion), algae (excess nutrients), nitrogen (runoff)

Slow flushing time= more sed. Suspended longer, Light reflects, not penetrate

Laws- Wake laws to prevent erosion from boats, Clean air acts to prevent Nitrogen Oxide and Mercury from polluting the Bay

water clarity18
Water Clarity

Currently- trying to reduce nitrogen(39%) and phosphorous(33%)

Solution- Barley grass (put in the water which prevents algae blooms) Filter runoff, and regulate farmland

Keep track of light depth, # of plants, erosion,& pollutants to see if it works

Benefits- more grasses, less polluted water, more organisms b/c more plants to live in and on

underwater grasses
Underwater Grasses

Submersed Aquatic Vegetation

Increasing since 1984

Peak in 2002 at 90k

b/c of Isabel 2005 between 20-30k

2007- 58k, goal is 184k

Provide- food, shelter, oxygen

Caused by poor water clarity, algae blooms

Flushing time- decreases light b/c sediments stay longer

Laws- Permits & Licenses needed to work on bottom near/ with grasses


Currently- reduce nutrients and chlorophyll levels, no plans yet

Solution- plant grasses, reduce runoff, keep plants & marshes

Keep track- with running charts on populations and clarity levels.

Benefits- More organisms will live there, more D.O, cleaner water

oysters and toxins

Oysters and Toxins

Brendan Frantz and Joseph Mongomery

effects on the oysters
Effects on the Oysters
  • The Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are suffering greatly, due to the amount of toxins that are being dumped into the bay on a daily basis.
  • The Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are suffering greatly, due to the amount of toxins that are being dumped into the bay on a daily basis.

The Oysters are filter-feeders; Therefore, they eat things that float past them.

So, when the Oysters are feeding and there are toxics in the water, it affects their health.

This thereby affects the local fisheries that use the Oysters as a food product.

The Toxic Oysters are no longer good for sale.


Effects on the Environment

  • Back in the 16th century the whole Chesapeak Bay could be filtered by the oyster population in a week and a half and now it takes over a year.
  • With the bad health and decreasing numbers of oysters the bay is going to get dirtier.
source of the problem toxics
Source of the Problem: Toxics

According to the Chesapeake Bay Report, progress in toxics reduction continues to be slow.

Mercury and PCBs are responsible for many fish consumption warning in the Watershed.

A variety of newer chemicals-antibiotics, birth control pills, lotions, detergents- come down the drains every day, and pour into the Chesapeake Bay.

how these chemicals affect the oysters
How these Chemicals Affect the Oysters

An Estuary is a partially enclosed body of water in which rivers and streams, which are freshwater, meet the saltwater ocean.

It is usually enclosed on three of the four sides.

Estuaries are now threatened by pollution and over fishing.

oysters and toxics katiel kelly estuaries watershed
Oysters and Toxics:KatieL&KellyEstuaries Watershed

An estuary, is the meeting place between freshwater river systems and large bodies of salt water in the zone along the coastline .

The Chesapeake Bay is an example of a coastal plain.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States reaching as far as 195 miles long.

It ranges anywhere from 4 to 30 feet wide.

Its average depth is less than 22 feet deep.

Watershed-The land area that drains into a stream, river, lake, estuary, or coastal zone is called a watershed

The Chesapeake Bay’s watershed is the surrounding land that falls into the Bay.

This land sends its run off of pollutants and rain into the Bay.

Its watershed is 64,000 square miles which is fifteen times larger than the Bay.

By Katie Lockwood and Kelly Pawlak

toxics oysters
Toxics Oysters



Run-off from farms, housing developments, and roads. Chemicals dumped in water, land fills, and many others.


Water becomes cloudy, animals are poisoned. Marine Life dies and leaves ecosystem unstable

Flushing Time:

Slower flushing time of the bay means that the pollutants are not diluted quickly, and remain in higher concentrations



Diseases, loss of area for habitat, and overfishing are causing the disappearance of oysters within the Chesapeake Bay.


it is killing oysters and harming the fishing economy of States surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.

Flushing Time:

Not enough flushing times leads to dead zones, which are caused by a lack of oxygen in the water. Oysters can not inhabit dead zones, this is one way they loose area for population growth. Which further hurts water-filtering, since oysters filter the water. The fishing industries makes up a grand proportions in the jobs in this area. It is important that the oyster industry doesn’t die out due to a problem with in the oyster habitat. The repercussions of such loss would cause a major blow to not only the economy of Virginia but all the states surrounding the Bay.



  • Safe Drinking Water Act protects drinking water supplies from contaminants. 16 million people get drinking water from Chesapeake Bay
  • Clean Water Act limits the amount of pollution entering water ways, from point sources. Much pollution does not have one source, and not applicable Maryland General Assembly transferred funds to prevent non-point pollution
  • Total Maximum Load requires states to create pollutant “budgets” for waters that fail to meet standards
  • Farm Bill provides conservation programs, to limit run off damage
  • Clean Air Act- Bay pollution is also deposited from air
  • Other Legislation passed:
    • Water Resources Development Act
    • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
    • Organic Act
    • Endangered Species Act
    • Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act
    • Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act
    • Many More

No new permits are being given to fishermen, which means that upcoming fishermen have to inherit or buy a permit off a retired or deceased fishermen.

No animals are allowed to be on a vessel while harvesting oysters.

From May 1 to June 14 it is illegal to harvest oysters after 11 AM. All oysters must be refrigerated by 11 AMthat same day.

From June 15 to August 31 it is illegal for fishermen aboard a vessel with the intent to harvest even an hour before sunrise to harvest.

From June 15 to August 31 it is illegal to harvest oysters after 10 AM. Also, oysters harvested before 10 a.m. shall be refrigerated by 10 AM. that same day for the purpose of keeping the oysters well preserved.

From September 1 to September 30 it is unlawful to harvest oyster from anytime after 12PM that day, and all oysters must be refrigerated by that same time that day.

Any harvesting other than the permitted times leads to prosecution and fines.




Lots of volunteer movements are taking place

One large part of preventing pollution is educating the public about it

In order to solve this problem, it would take cooperation between states involved in the watershed. All states would have to make mandatory limits on pollution, put up forested buffers, and launch massive education programs. The acts are already in place, now it is necessary to enforce them vigorously and apply heavy fines to violators.

The signs that this solution is working, would be less dead zones emerging annually, water clarity increase, marine populations and SAV abundance increasing.

This would greatly benefit the bay and local economies. More commercial fish would be available and the Chesapeake Bay estuarine ecosystem would be far more stable.

This issue needs to be made a priority to solve for Virginia and other states surrounding the Chesapeake Bay or our fishing industry economy could greatly plummet.

Make bigger fines in order to slow down the oyster fishermen from harvesting out of season.

Have more enforcement of regulations, without enforcement there will be no incentive to change.

Put regulations on the harvesting of oysters to make fishermen put oyster shells and beds back into the water (this otherwise destroys the ability for the habitat to procreate in the future).

More wetlands and trees need to be planted to provide a way to increase oxygen in waters.

There needs to be an enfaces on eliminating dead zones in order to solve the lack of inhabitable area for oysters.

If adding more filtering components doesn’t aid in the production of oysters, then adding an alien species of oyster to our waters should be considered as a way to keep our oyster industry alive.

summary slides forested buffers and resource lands

Summary Slides:Forested Buffers and Resource Lands

Emily Smith-George and Molly Warters


An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where fresh water from rivers and streams meets with the salt water of the ocean.

Watersheds is an area of land drained by a river or river system, lake or estuary. It is a basin-like landform defined by highpoints and ridgelines that descend into lower elevations and stream valleys.

Riparian, or streamside, forest buffers border streams and improve water quality by trapping pollutants and preventing them from reaching the water. These forests reduce pollution.

Resource Lands, including forests, are land surrounding areas like the Chesapeake Bay that are protected.

Development is the main problem that is causing these factors to be problems. More houses and stores = less room for forests and resource lands

factors and impact
Factors and Impact

Forested buffers have a CB grade of B+ and a number grade of 56.

Resource lands have a CB grade of D and a number grade of 29.

Forested buffers have roots that are beneficial to the vegetation and keep stream banks in place. Buffers allow rainwater to fall into the ground and “recharge” underground reservoirs. Also, buffers help fish by providing many underwater obstacles that help feeding grounds. Fallen leaves from the trees provide shelter for small bottom-dwellers as the leaves get caught on rocks and woody debris. They also help to keep pollutants out of water, provide shade to cool water temperatures, and remove nitrogen.

Resource lands filter the contaminants out of the water from rainfall while it travels down rivers and streams. These lands regulate the flow of the water as well. Farmlands can be used as natural filters and provide habitats for not only a variety of plants, but animals as well. Also, they help to keep development away so that runoff and pollution is less likely to reach the water.

regulations and their impact
Regulations and their Impact

Bay program partners have been working since 1996 to restore riparian forest buffers their original goal of 2,010 miles of buffers by 2010 was met in 2002.

In 2003, Bay Program partners established an expanded riparian forest buffer goal to restore 10,000 miles of forest buffers by 2010, approximately 5,720 miles of forest buffers had been restored.

The 2007 Forest Conservation Initiative committed the partners to maintaining restoration progress beyond 2010 with a long-term restoration goal of 900 miles of forest buffers per year, until 70 percent of all stream miles in the Bay watershed are buffered.

In addition to the 10,000-mile goal, places have proposed in to restore 50,000 miles of riparian forest buffers to help reach water quality goals for major rivers that drain into the Bay.

As of July 2006, a total of 6.83 million acres of land had been permanently preserved in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Bay Program partners are very likely to meet their 2010 goal of permanently protecting from development 20 percent of the Bay watershed land area—approximately 6.92 million acres.

our proposal
Our proposal

Because our factors are effected by population growth, development, impervious surfaces, storm water, land use, and transportation we propose that land is put aside and reserved as resource lands so that these things will not effect the Chesapeake Bay as much and that we forest will be preserved so that the water quality will not get worse

summary forested buffers emily and molly
Summary: Forested Buffers Emily and Molly

-Forested buffers are important because they provide a habitat for wildlife, keep banks from eroding, keep the water cool for fish, absorb nutrients and sediments, trap pollutants (nitrogen and phosphorus), and are a cost-effective way to control pollution.

-Sources= Chesapeake Bay Partners (State forestry, natural resource agencies, federal agencies, local governments, and non-profit organizations.)

-Flushing Time= will slow if forested buffers are sparse (cannot filter sediment and pollutants)

-No laws or regulations.

summary forested buffers emily and molly36
Summary: Forested Buffers Emily and Molly

-In 2003, it was proposed to have 10,000 miles by 2010.

-Long-term goal= After 2010, 900 miles will be planted each year until 70 percent of all stream miles in the watershed are buffered.

-Efforts of the Chesapeake Bay partners are going well.

-Solution= Need more budget allowances  more forested buffers  health of the Chesapeake Bay would improve drastically.

-Progress= Can be evaluated by checking the quality of the water and the abundance and diversity of wildlife.

summary resource lands
Summary: Resource Lands

Resource lands help reduce toxins and pollutants that enter the Chesapeake Bay. The populations within the Chesapeake Bay (submerged aquatic vegetation and marine life) are greatly affected by the number of resource lands surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.

A source of resource lands is publically owned land. Some organizations by land to ensure they remain resource lands.

The faster the flush, the less the land can keep toxins out of the bay. More rainfall can mean a stronger flush current (which is not good for resource lands).

summary resource lands sarahv and rachel
Summary: Resource LandsSarahV and Rachel
  • Currently, Pennsylvania established new funding for agricultural conservation. The Resource Enhancement and Protection Act will reduce nitrogen population and other runoff from agricultural farms and fields.
  • The Clean Water Act is committed to getting the Bay off of the EPA’s “dirty waters” list by 2010. State funding for open space conservation is very low.

A possible solution to reducing the problem is to get organizations and the government to persuade wealthy families and businesses to buy land to devote to the renewing of the Bay. Resource lands need to be bought in order that no one else builds on them. Unfortunately, a great deal of money would be needed to carry out this solution.

blue crabs

Blue Crabs

The Blue Crab is a resident of the Bay, which requires a variety of aquatic habitats to complete its life cycle.

When the weather is warm, crabs are caught in baited box-traps. When is colder outside, crabs are caught by dredging, a process that include dragging a heavy net on the bottom of the bay in order to catch the hibernating crabs. These dredges have giant nets on the back, in order to catch the animals they stir up.

Virginia banned dredging for crabs on Oct. 27, and the catching of female crabs was prohibited. Many people who had jobs in relation to the crabbing industry, will find themselves unemployed, and there will be $600 million lost.

Nitrogen pollution from farms, sewage plants and suburban lawns is fuelling algae blooms that are killing the clams and worms that crabs eat.

Waterfront development is stripping away habitat wetlands and trees -- that are natural pollution filters for the Bay.

Homeowners are also pouring fertilizers on their yards, which run off into the Bay., which not only affects the animals but also the watermen who rely on the Bay for a living.

Fishing regulations have already been placed upon everyone who fishes in the Bay, but more severe restrictions/ punishments need to imposed on those who continue to pollute the Bay.



An area of land consisting of soil that is saturated with moisture, such as a swamp, marsh or bog.

An area where terrestrial and aquatic habitats intertwine and are interdependent.

Two types of estuaries: coastal and inland, also called estuarine and palustrine.

Wetlands are essential to the existence of the Chesapeake Bay because when the wetlands dry up, the organisms relying on this habitat cease to flourish.

The expanses of wetlands are steadily decreasing due to development, agriculture, and other land uses.

The Wetland Reserve Program, which is administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, exists to regulate the amount of agricultural and development that occurs.

Wetlands located along the Chesapeake Bay are under the protection of the Supreme Court.

While, agriculture, housing development, and other forms of expansion continue to increase, restrictions must be increased to preserve the fragile existence of the Bay.

solutions to the destruction of the bay

Solutions to the Destruction of the Bay

There are many programs being implemented by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

We, as residents of the areas surrounding the Chesapeake Bay are encouraged to plant trees whenever we have the chance.

We are also encouraged to limit the amount we fish, when we fish. We must be reasonable in considering how our individual actions affect the state of the Bay.

Major marine groups have been encouraged to help redevelop oyster reefs because they provide habitat and food for many marine plants and animals.

We can help the entire environment by limiting the amount of water we consume and by limiting the amount of personal garbage we dispose of.

This link highlights the next actions that will taken to clean up the Bay.

blue crabs sarahm anne hampton
Blue CrabsSarahM & Anne Hampton
  • Best known animal of Bay
  • Indicator species
    • Habitat loss
    • Pollution
  • One third of nation’s catch comes from the Bay
  • Sept. 2008- deemed a “commercial fishery failure”
  • If pollutants enters bay at flushing time, directly affects crabs’ habitats and living situations
blue crabs44
Blue Crabs
  • Harmful factors: Nitrogen and Phosphorus, poor water quality, reduced habitat, overfishing
  • No current management plan to restore crab population
  • Stern limits should be put on fishing
    • Some restrictions have been implemented and have shown progress
  • Nitrogen and Phosphorus run-off leads to other problems
    • Needs to be limited
      • Fertilizers
      • Land developments
  • An area where saturation of water is the main factor and then in turn, determines which types of plants and animals will live there (swamps, marshes, bogs, or other similar areas)
  • Grade from State of the Bay- C+ (42)
  • Current Factors -a climate change could cause a rise in sea level leading to flooding of wetlands

-large construction projects such as the King William Reservoir create risks for these areas

-federal government sent out a wetland permitting policy which left many acres of wetlands and streams unprotected

-2,600 acre loss from 1996-2005

  • Quality-

wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and protects from flooding and erosion

  • Current Restoration Goal - in 2000 the goal was to obtain 25,000 acres of wetlands in the bay watershed by 2010
  • As of 2007 the bay Program is about half way there, and set another goal in 2005 to track “functional gains”
  • 5 Types of Wetland Projects

establishment, re-establishment, enhancement, rehabilitation, and protection

estuaries and watersheds
Estuaries and Watersheds

An estuary is a coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it. An estuary also has a connection to the sea.

A watershed is an area of land that drains into a particular body of water.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches across more than 64,000 square miles and includes parts of six states-Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. (also includes part of the District of Columbia)

rockfish and shad in the chesapeake bay
Rockfish and Shad in the Chesapeake Bay

Rockfish are the most important recreational and commercial fish within the Chesapeake Bay.

Any change in the abundance of rockfish will drastically change the functioning of the food web.

If the abundance of menhaden or bay anchovies is down, it affects the rockfish because it takes away their main food source.

Shad are vital to the food web because they form an important ecological link between the planktons and the predatory fish in the bay.

If the abundance of shad was down, the predatory fish that rely on them as food would suffer.

If the abundance of plankton is down, the shad fish suffer which causes the rest of the food chain to suffer.

factors of flushing time
Factors of Flushing Time

Flushing time is the amount of time that it takes for something to completely pass through a body of water.

The flushing time for the Chesapeake Bay is very slow.

Both rockfish and shad are affected by the flushing time of the bay because of dinoflagellates.

Dinoflagellates can move just like animals because of their flagella and they turn the water into a “red tide” which can be poisonous to the fish.

Rockfish are affected more than the shad but the slow flushing time creates a problem for both.


Rockfish- The number of rockfish per day varies from area to area but is generally around two to three per day.

Shad- Commercial fishing of shad has been banned since the mid 1990’s, however, recreational fishing has recently been limited to one per day.

Authorities are checking the abundance of the fish frequently to determine whether they should be more strict on regulations, or relax them.

Solution- Monitor the abundance of the rockfish and shad frequently, until then, ban all commercial fishing and limit recreational fishing.

This will ensure these vital species within the food chain remain abundant for better bay functioning.

shad and rockfish summary elizabeth and dai young
Shad and Rockfish SummaryElizabeth and Dai Young

Estuary = Partially enclosed coastal regions (such as bays, lagoons, sounds or sloughs) where freshwater (from rivers) meets and mixes with seawater. Four main types : Coastal plain or drowned river Bar built, Tectonic, Fjords. Driven by tides but sheltered from the full force of ocean wind and waves

Watershed = The area of land from which precipitation drains into a body of water ; Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses parts of six states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia Drainage basins

shad summary
Shad Summary
  • Alosa sapidissima
  • Thin, silvery body that varies in color from greenish to dark blue on the back ; forked tail
  • Live in coastal ocean waters
  • Anadromous fish: they spend most of their lives in salt water but spawn in fresh water.
  • Overall, shad abundance continues to be at depressed levels
  • 22% of abundance goal in the Chesapeake Bay
  • Decline due to overfishing, pollution, dams and other blockages
  • In 2005 states outlawed shad fishing in the ocean no consistent improvement since the law has gone into effect, which is a clear indicator that it is not being enforced
  • Since the mid 1990s, commercial fishery for shad has been closed
  • Removing dams and installing fish passages are critical steps toward restoring healthy

populations of shad

  • Chesapeake Bay Program involved in many projects to help restore the population     * Habitat restoration    * Sediment reduction    * Shoreline erosion protection    * Watershed planning    * Contaminated Site Clean-Up    * Regulatory oversight of waterways and wetlands
rockfish summary
Rockfish Summary

Morone saxatilis  striped bass

Streamlined, silvery body with dark stripes ;Forked tail, stripes, counter shaded, powerful swimmer.


After a steep population decline in the 1980s, Chesapeake rockfish are currently at their highest numbers in decades.

Highly acidic rain reacts with aluminum in the soil, causing it to dissolve in the water. The combination of high acidity and aluminum is fatal to newly hatched striped bass; adversely affects zooplankton, leading to starvation of newly hatched striped bass that feed on it.

Mycobacteriosis ( a serious bacterial disease) is currently spreading through the population due to poor water quality and shortages of food

2007 Bush designated rockfish as a protected game fish which put an end to the purchase of rockfish caught in federal waters

Strict harvest controls helped recover populations , Improving water quality, Pollution control

Congress enacted an Emergency Striped Bass Act in 1979 still in effect

A coast-wide fishery management plan (FMP), from Maine to North Carolina, is in effect for striped bass under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Primary objectives are: Controlling fishing mortality, developing regulations to allocate and control safe harvest levels, determining stock assessment and research needs, examining the effects of environmental conditions, such as habitats and water quality

summary on solution to saving rockfish shad
Summary on solution to saving rockfish & shad

Laws need to be enforced much more effectively more severe consequences

Pollution control needs to be stronger, which will inevitably improve water quality

Raise awareness of the seriousness of the issue; especially to the younger generations because they will have the greatest impact on the future of the Chesapeake Bay

Discuss issue with all states of the Chesapeake Watershed (Delaware Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) instead of focusing on a more local scale

This could be monitored by frequent studies from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to improve water quality, and increase the population of shad & rockfish

Rockfish and shad populations would drastically increase, which would benefit the ecosystem as a whole.

Commercial fishing industry would continue to grow

Safer environment with less pollution cleaner water