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.”
There are more than 1,300 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.Learn more
There are nearly 1,800 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships.
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a particular river, lake, bay or other body of water.Learn more
The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.
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.
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
The Bay itself is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The deepest part of the Bay, located southeast of Annapolis near Bloody Point, is called “The Hole” and is 174 feet deep.
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.
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.
There were many different tribes in the region before Europeans arrived, but the dominant group were Algonquian speakers known collectively as the Powhatan tribes.
The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.Learn more
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.
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.
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.Learn more
The Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline—more than the entire U.S. west coast.
The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed contains three distinct geologic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont plateau and the Appalachian province.
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.
Approximately 9.6 million acres of land in the Bay watershed have been permanently protected from development by Bay Program partners.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more