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Formally recognized tribes in Maryland

The State of Maryland has formally recognized three tribes: the Piscataway Indian Nation, Piscataway Conoy Tribe and the Accohannock Indian Tribe.

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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.

284,000 acres of tidal wetlands

Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species.

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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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80,000 acres of underwater grasses

Nearly 80,000 acres of underwater grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on underwater grass beds for protection from predators.

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Getting oxygen underwater

Just like those on land, animals in the Chesapeake Bay need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is present underwater in dissolved form, and in order to thrive, animals like blue crabs need dissolved oxygen concentrations of three milligrams per liter.

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What is a shallop?

Captain John Smith and his men sailed the Chesapeake Bay in a modest wooden boat called a shallop–an open wooden workboat such as a barge, dory, or rowboat that was small enough to row but also had one or two sails.

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.

Longest free flowing river in the Bay watershed

The 195-mile-long Rappahannock River is the longest free flowing river in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

More than 200 historic shipwrecks

Mallows Bay is the final resting place for more than 200 historic shipwrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War. Commonly referred to as the “Ghost Fleet” of Mallows Bay, it is the largest collection of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere.

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.

1,800 sunken vessels

More than 1,800 vessels have met their end in Bay waters, lying broken and battered on the Bay's floor.

26 different SAV species

The Chesapeake Bay is home to 26 different species of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV), including freshwater plants, estuarine plants, redhead grass, and marine species.

100,000 smaller tributaries

The Chesapeake Bay watershed has 150 major rivers and streams, but contains more than 100,000 smaller tributaries.

84 degrees Fahrenheit

Water temperatures in the Bay fluctuate widely throughout the year, reaching as high as 84 degrees in summer.

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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The Chesapeake Bay Program was organized in 1983 to help lead and direct restoration in the Chesapeake Bay.

Filtering drinking water

Forests and trees help filter and protect the drinking water of 75% of watershed residents.

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Three geologic regions

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

60% of Chesapeake forests

Sixty percent of Chesapeake forests have been divided into disconnected fragments by roads, homes and other gaps that are too wide or dangerous for wildlife to cross.

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4,480 square miles of surface area

The surface area of the Bay and its tidal tributaries is approximately 4,480 square miles.

21 feet deep

The Bay is surprisingly shallow. Its average depth, including all tidal tributaries, is about 21 feet. A person who is six feet tall could wade through more than 700,000 acres of the Bay and never get his or her hat wet.

Chesapeake National Recreation Area

Legislation proposed by Maryland’s Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative John Sarbanes to incorporate the bay into the nation’s park system.

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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