The Chesapeake Bay is one of North America’s ecological crown jewels. The Bay watershed encompasses six states and the District of Columbia, and the main stem of the Chesapeake runs approximately 200 miles from the Susquehanna Flats in the north to Cape Henry in the south. In between, there are hundreds of rivers and creeks creating more than 11,600 miles of shoreline.
One of the most unique things about the Chesapeake are its diverse habitats. Oyster reefs, seagrass meadows and wetlands habitats are essential to a healthy Bay and good sport fishing. These habitats provide food, cover and nursery areas used by hundreds of species of fish and shellfish, including highly valuable species like striped bass, speckled trout, blue crabs and menhaden. They also help improve water quality by filtering pollution and settling out sediments.
Once abundant oyster reefs and seagrass meadows are unfortunately at all-time lows, especially oysters. With more anglers and boaters than ever utilizing the Bay’s marine resources, creating and protecting more marine habitat is a priority for CCA Virginia.
The Chesapeake Bay’s sport fishing community has always been stewards of our marine resources, and at the forefront of marine conservation and habitat restoration.
A renewed focus on grassroots-driven projects will help not only restore degraded habitats, but also advance the science of coastal habitat conservation while educating coastal communities on the value of conservation.
photo credit: Jenni Pollack, Harte Research Institute