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 has accelerated dramatically since then, with an additional 2.7 million acres built on or paved over between 1950 and 1980.
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
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.
October 17, 2018
Garden mud, rain, and rocks were Rafiyqa Muhammad's playground growing up in a south-Harrisburg, PA neighborhood. Today, she's back in that neighborhood, empowering the community through rain gardens and green infrastructure.
October 12, 2018
Before the Chesapeake was first explored by Captain John Smith in 1608, the Bay was known for its oysters. But the magnitude of the Bay's oyster population has dropped precipitously since the days when Smith wrote that oysters "lay thick as stones."
October 11, 2018
For decades, photographer James Balog has focused on the relationship between people and nature. For his latest project, Balog traveled across the country to examine how people are altering the elements of life—from wildfires to air pollution to rising waters.
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