Restore

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Low tide reveals a healthy oyster reef in Bavon, Virginia.

Photo Credit: © Robert Diller

In programs across the watershed, CBF is fighting to protect and preserve invaluable resource lands, 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 accelerated dramatically between 1950 and 1980, with an additional 2.7 million acres built on or paved over. Development has continued across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia at a rate between 30,000 to 40,000 acres per year.

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.

Restoring Our Native Oysters

Native oysters filter pollutants out of the Bay and their reefs provide habitat for fish, crabs, and other Bay organisms. See how we are contributing to the restoration of this keystone species and how you can get involved.

Supporting Underwater Grass Beds

Underwater grasses combat the overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus and are an important source of food and habitat. Volunteers in CBF's Grasses for the Masses program help restore grass beds along the Potomac, James, Chickahominy, and Rappahannock rivers.

Working With Our Communities

Working one-on-one with farmers and communities to restore streamside forest buffers, living shorelines, and other green infrastructure means better water quality and greater resiliency in the face of climate change. See how restoration projects in Virginia's Hampton, Richmond, Hopewell, and Shenandoah Valley are making a difference for local communities.

From Our Blog

  • Following COVID-19 Restrictions, Oyster Restoration is Back

    June 25, 2020

    After a nearly three-month pause, oyster restoration is back in both Virginia and Maryland.

  • Tree Nurseries: An Essential Bay Business

    April 16, 2020

    In these uncertain times, Pennsylvania nursery growers provide essential crops for clean water. As life challenges in the days of COVID-19 continue, so does the work of adding trees and shrubs to Penn's Woods that will clean and protect Pennsylvania waters. The clean water work does not stop.

  • Communities Rise to the Climate Challenge

    April 5, 2020

    In Baltimore Harbor’s toxic legacy, Turner Station sees a solution for rising seas.

  • Pennsylvania Has Been ‘Growing Greener’ for 20 Years

    January 10, 2020

    Twenty years after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed a bill establishing Growing Greener at $650 million over five years, the Commonwealth struggles today to make the adequate investments necessary to clean and protect its waters.

  • In Oyster News, We’re Celebrating

    December 16, 2019

    Federal and state funding measures to support oyster restoration and research would send more money flowing to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s most important natural filter.

  • Resorts for Oysters

    September 19, 2019

    If you find yourself slurping down oysters at National Harbor, or another MGM property in Las Vegas, you have more than one reason to feel good.

  • Fighting for Oysters

    September 6, 2019

    On a blustery and snowy March day at Maryland’s General Assembly, about a dozen hearty oyster advocates to support two bills designed to help increase the oyster population in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

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Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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