A degraded environment has dramatic and harmful effects on health, education, gender equality, and economic development.
Throughout our fight to Save the Bay™, many have questioned whether or not our efforts are all for naught…if, in the end, our work for clean water will be more expensive than what the resource we save is actually worth. However, after decades of lost jobs, poor health, and dirty water as a result of the Bay’s degradation, it’s become quite clear: It is more expensive—both for the economy and the human condition—not to save and restore our extraordinary waters.
From providing an important source of drinking water to supporting a seafood industry that sustains families and generations-old ways of life, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is an integral part to the human health and wealth of 18 million people. Below is just a sampling of facts and figures that show the importance of our Chesapeake waters to the human condition.
- The forests found in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed protect and filter drinking water for 75 percent of the watershed’s residents—that’s nearly 13 million people (Chesapeake Bay Program);
- The commercial seafood industry in Maryland and Virginia combined equals $3.39 billion in sales, $890 million in income, and nearly 34,000 jobs to the local economy per year (NOAA);
- Health departments across the watershed continue to caution people to stay out of the Bay after a heavy rain in order to avoid harmful bacteria and pollution (Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia departments of health and environment);
- Millions find inspiration, rejuvenation, and solace in the Chesapeake’s waters.
Read further on how the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams is vital to our economy and our health.