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
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.
August 14, 2019
The historic federal-state partnership working to clean up the Bay’s pollution is entering the final phase of restoration.
June 27, 2019
Oyster gardening gives volunteers the opportunity to play a role in bringing back the beloved Chesapeake Bay bivalve.
April 17, 2019
Retired Navy Senior Chief and Chef Adam Gagne relishes the chance to share his passion for kayak fishing with veterans and first responders.
March 12, 2019
CBF's Hampton Roads Grassroots Manager Tanner Council describes Hampton resident Claire Neubert as one of the most prolific volunteers CBF has ever worked with.
February 22, 2019
Following decades of restoration work, we are making progress restoring the Bay's native oyster population. And two pieces of legislation before the Maryland General Assembly would take restoration efforts even further.
February 20, 2019
2019 Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture Conference highlighted changes in the Bay’s regenerative business.
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