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.
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
May 17, 2022
CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk shares a new look at Bay restoration after an insightful first few months on the job.
February 4, 2022
CBF and partners create a unique watershed restoration plan.
October 27, 2021
Black Girls Dive Foundation students learn about science, technology, engineering, robotics, arts, and mathematics through SCUBA lessons.
July 1, 2021
Nearly half of all mussel species face extinction, threatened by pollution and disease.
May 21, 2021
Our monthly roundup of engaging and educational content for you to enjoy at home. This month, we look at how the health of our communities is inseparable from the health of our environment.
April 7, 2021
The health of our communities is inseparable from the health of our environment. As policymakers and communities throughout the watershed face the compounding, urgent challenges of environmental degradation, public health crises, racial injustice, and climate change, solutions like these that offer significant co-benefits cannot be ignored. In caring for the Bay's health, we care for our own.
November 12, 2020
…and you may not even know about it. Don’t feel bad—you’re not alone. CBF has got you covered.
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