In programs across the watershed, CBF is restoring native oysters, planting underwater grasses, and planting trees and stream buffers to restore the Bay's natural filters.

In the four centuries since the explorations of Captain John Smith, the Chesapeake Bay has lost half of its forested shoreline, more than half its wetlands, nearly 80 percent of its underwater grasses, and more than 98 percent of its oysters. Across the watershed, approximately 1.7 million acres of once-untouched land were developed by 1950. Development has accelerated dramatically since then, with an additional 2.7 million acres built on or paved over between 1950 and 1980.

The human pressure of these changes has imposed heavy negative impacts on the health and resilience of the Bay. Although we will never return to the pristine territory explored by Captain John Smith during those early voyages, CBF is fighting to return this fragile ecosystem to balance.

Find out more about our oyster restoration centers, other restoration programs and the issues CBF is working on in your part of the watershed or volunteer for one of our restoration projects.

FY17 Restoration Accomplishments

PLANTED 40,770,999 juvenile oysters on sanctuary reefs throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

ORGANIZED and assisted 603 volunteers who grew about 570,000 oysters for planting in Maryland's Patapsco, Severn, South, Patuxent, and Tred Avon Rivers and Virginia's Lynnhaven, Lafayette, Hampton, and Elizabeth Rivers.

RECYCLED 3,100 bushels of oyster shells for baby oyster habitat and will plant the shells in both states to promote restoration.

DEVELOPED a cooperative oyster-setting program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, to help watermen plant juvenile oysters on their leases in the South River.

PLANTED 48,577 trees across the Chesapeake watershed, including on farms and in urban areas like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

RESTORED 67.7 acres of wetlands, critical areas that help filter water and provide habitat for wildlife. Also added 28.82 miles of stream buffers, areas where trees, grasses, and other plants soak up pollution before it reaches local waterways.

PROMOTED Environmental Impact Bonds as an innovative financing method for nature-based solutions to polluted runoff.

ORGANIZED an estimated 6,000 Clean the Bay Day volunteers to remove approximately 100,000 pounds of litter and debris at 250 sites along 450 miles of shoreline across Virginia.

Share Your Clean Water Story

What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

Share Your Story


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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