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Meaning of "Chesepiooc"

The word Chesepiooc is an Algonquian word referring to a village "at a big river." In 2005, Algonquian historian Blair Rudes helped dispel the widely-held belief that the name meant “great shellfish bay.”

1,300 public access points

There are more than 1,300 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

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1,800 local governments

There are nearly 1,800 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships.

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that drains into a particular river, lake, bay or other body of water.

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18 trillion gallons

The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.

12 major rivers

Major rivers emptying into the Bay include the James, York, Rappahannock, Potomac, Patuxent, Patapsco and Susquehanna from the west and the Pocomoke, Wicomico, Nanticoke, Choptank and Chester from the east.

One million waterfowl

Nearly one million waterfowl winter on the Bay–approximately one-third of the Atlantic coast’s migratory population. The birds stop to feed and rest on the Bay during their annual migration along the Atlantic Migratory Bird Flyway.

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3,600 species of plants and animals

The Bay supports more than 3,600 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish, 173 species of shellfish, over 2,700 plant species and more than 16 species of underwater grasses.

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200 miles long

The Bay itself is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

174 feet deep

The deepest part of the Bay, located southeast of Annapolis near Bloody Point, is called “The Hole” and is 174 feet deep.

Avoiding toxic pesticides

Forty-six percent of watershed residents never use toxic pesticides in or around their homes. You can evaluate a pesticide’s toxicity to judge the risk in using it, or make your own non-toxic pesticide with garlic, vinegar, cooking oil and other common household items.

Six states and the District of Columbia

The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches approximately 524 miles from Cooperstown, New York, to Norfolk, Virginia. It includes parts of six states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—and the entire District of Columbia.

The Powhatan tribes

There were many different tribes in the region before Europeans arrived, but the dominant group were Algonquian speakers known collectively as the Powhatan tribes.

29 species of waterfowl

The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.

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Where does the Bay get its water?

The Bay receives about half its water volume from the Atlantic Ocean in the form of saltwater. The other half (freshwater) drains into the Bay from the enormous 64,000-square-mile watershed.

10 U.S. presidents

There have been 10 U.S. presidents from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, James Buchanan and Joe Biden.

Reducing runoff

Fourteen percent of watershed residents use rain barrels to collect rainwater from their downspouts and keep runoff out of rivers and streams. While water collected in rain barrels is not safe to drink, it can be used to water plants or wash cars.

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11,684 miles of shoreline

The Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline—more than the entire U.S. west coast.

500 million pounds of seafood

The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.

Three geologic regions

The Chesapeake Bay watershed contains three distinct geologic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont plateau and the Appalachian province.

Litter bugs

Nine in ten watershed residents never toss food wrappers, cups or cigarette butts on the ground. Almost eight in ten watershed residents pick up litter when they see it.

9.6 million acres of land

Approximately 9.6 million acres of land in the Bay watershed have been permanently protected from development by Bay Program partners.

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Captain John Smith visits the Bay

In 1608, Captain John Smith set off on the first of two voyages where he charted the land and waterways, and later drew an elaborate and remarkably accurate map of the Chesapeake Bay.

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Largest estuary in the United States

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary: a body of water where fresh and salt water mix. It is the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the United States and third largest in the world.

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