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
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.
February 15, 2019
There is perhaps no document more revealing than a budget.
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.
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