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
April 7, 2021
It is a prescient reminder today—on World Health Day—that the health of our communities is inseparable from the health of our environment.
November 12, 2020
…and you may not even know about it. Don’t feel bad—you’re not alone. CBF has got you covered.
June 25, 2020
After a nearly three-month pause, oyster restoration is back in both Virginia and Maryland.
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.
April 5, 2020
In Baltimore Harbor’s toxic legacy, Turner Station sees a solution for rising seas.
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.
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.
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