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
February 13, 2019
Good things happen when voices join together for the Bay.
January 30, 2019
On behalf of the conservation community, I extend my sincerest apologies. Collectively we have failed you, the public, on communicating what science has shown us: that our stormwater infrastructure is failing and it's polluting the water we drink, fish and recreate in.
December 19, 2018
Visitors on hay wagons rode through rolling hills of corn, cover crops, and contour strips under a blazing sun in Juniata County, to get a closer look and to learn about conservation efforts through farmers' eyes.
December 14, 2018
At first glance, the federal Farm Bill, full of wonky agriculture policy and programs with countless acronyms, doesn't appear to have a connection with the health of the Bay and its rivers and streams.
December 4, 2018
Right in our own backyard, the world's greatest environmental recovery is taking place. And that is in no small part thanks to you.
November 13, 2018
With his recent executive order, Gov. Ralph Northam wisely directed the commonwealth to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change.
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