By Phyllis Butler The Chesapeake Bay
Navigation • General facts • History • Fauna • Flora • Recreation • Industry • Shipping • The Military • Environment
The Chesapeake Bay • A small part of the Universe • A Big part of our Lives
How Big Is the Chesapeake Bay? • 180-200 miles North to South • Shoreline is 4,600 miles long • Average depth is 30 feet • The Chesapeake bay is the nations largest estuary • 80 % water from Susquehanna, Potomac, James rivers • The Chesapeake bay runs from Maryland to Virginia • Bordering states are VA and MD • Watershed is VA, MD, DE, PA, and WV • Western shore has the largest rivers • 498,000 acres of wetlands
SALINITY • Salinity is measured in parts per thousand 0/00 • This means how much salt (particles) there are in a thousand parts of water • Varies from fresh in the North to salty in the South • Salinity is greater at bottom due to gravity • Euryhaline is an organism that is tolerant to salinity changes • Has tides twice a month called Semi-diurnal
WETLANDS • Has 2,700 species of plants and animals • 10 tons of organic matter is grown acre/year such as spartina , asters, hibiscus, and cordgrass • Oyster bar communities are the base for many other organisms such are crabs, whelk,& eels • Half of blue crabs in nation live here • Many juvenile marine organisms use wetlands as a nursery ground • Includes essential nutrients, detritus, and minerals
CHESAPEAKE BAY Largest estuary in the U.S. One of the most diverse estuaries • Shipping artery for • Norfolk & Baltimore Highly valued for its sea life, waterfowl, sport fishing & rec boating Stretches to the mouth of the Susquehanna River Threatened by environmental degradation caused by man induced pollution
CHESAPEAKE BAY • Average depth is 30 feet
SEA LEVEL RISE • At the end of the last glacial epoch, sea level rose relatively rapidly as continental glaciers melted. • 10,000 years ago, the main channel of the ancient Susquehanna River valley was flooded and became a narrow estuary.
Submerged & eroded Sharps Island, formerly at the mouth of the Choptank estuary, is recalled only by a prominent lighthouse erected in 1882 and is now covered by 3- to 4-meter water depths.
Expanding wetlands are claiming low-lying communities on Smith Island & Tangier Island. • Extreme high tide at Hoopers Island, Eastern Shore (1998)
INDIANS • IN 9000 B.C. THE NATIVE AMERICANS • ARRIVE IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY • THE NATIVE AMERICANS FISH IN THE BAY WITH SPEARS, TRAPS AND HOOKS • THE SUSQUEHANNOCK OF THE IROQUOIS NATION LIVED NORTH OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
SETTLERS • IN 1607, JOHN SMITH BEGIN HIS • EXPLORATION OF THE BAY • ALSO IN 1607 THE FIRST PERMAENT • NEW WORLD ENGLISH SETTLEMENT • ESTABLISHED IN JAMESTOWN • IN 1835, THE CHESAPEAKE REGION FORESTS IS CLEARED FOR AGRICULTURE, TIMBER AND FUEL FOR HOMES AND INDUSTRY.
AFRICAN AMERICANS • IN 1619, AFRICANS WERE BROUGHT • OVER BY THE DUTCH. • FREDERICK DOUGLASS USED THE • CHESAPEAKE BAY TO ESCAPE • SLAVERY • BETWEEN 1700 AND 1770, SLAVE POPULATION GREW IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION FROM 13,000 TO 250,000 • USING THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, AFRICAN AMERICANS CROSSED THE CHESAPEAKE BAY TO ESCAPE TO THE NORTH
FAMOUS BATTLES • DURING THE MID-1800’S THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION WAS AT THE CENTER OF THE CIVIL WAR • BATTLE OF BRANANBURGH (937) • BATTLE OF HASTINGS AND STANFORD BRIGE (1066) • BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL IN JUNE 17, 1775 • BATTLE OF PERRYVILLE ON OCTOBER 8, 1862
CSS Virginia Confederate (Ironclad warship) USS Monitor Union (Ironclad warship) 1862 - Battle of Hampton Roads
Animal Life • Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Invertebrates • The blue crab goes through many transformations in its 3 years. • Jellyfish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, moon snails, and whelks are also common invertebrates in the bay.
Reptiles • Turtles are the only reptiles with hard carapaces that do not have teeth. • The two most common turtles found in the Chesapeake bay are the diamondback terrapin and the snapping turtle. • The loggerhead turtle is found in the lower part of the Chesapeake bay. • Both the Green Sea Turtle and the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle are found off of our coast.
Skink Snapping Turtle
Fish Killifish • Breeding waters for many fish species. Parent fish spawn in the bay to protect their offspring from larger predators Mummichog Sheepshead Minnow
RESIDENT BIRDS • Resident birds are mainly found on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in urban and suburban areas. • Canada geese is one type of Resident bird. • Their migration route takes them along the eastern shore of Hudson bay& James bay across central New York.
MIGRATORY BIRDS • OSPREY Great Blue Heron
BIRD REFUGES • Refuge provides habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. • During the fall and winter months, • Snow and Canada geese, tundra swans, and many duck species are abundant. • Migrating songbirds and shorebirds arrive at the Refuge each spring.
Mammals • Deer ,raccoons, fox, squirrels, rabbits, and opossum are the most plentiful mammal residents of the Chesapeake Bay area. • Noted aquatic mammals living here are otters, dolphins, porpoises, and whales.
Algae • Phytoplankton grow in the photic zone or the depth to which sunlight penetrates the water. • They undergo algae blooms or rapid population growth caused by excess nutrients. • Major groups of phytoplankton are Diatoms, Green algae, Dinoflagellates. • They are used as indicators for environmental conditions within the bay.
Bald Cypress • Grow to be 100 to 120 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. • Usually abundant in muck, clay or fine sand where its very high amount of water.
Loblolly Pine • This rapidly-growing tree thrives in the maritime forest, at the bay’s edge. • It prefers the Bay's relatively long, hot and humid summers. • The trees provide important nesting habitat for bald eagles and osprey. • Loblolly pines are frequently used for soil stabilization in areas that are subject to severe erosion .
American Holly • American Holly is used as a popular holiday decoration. • Bluebirds, and songbirds use holly for shelter and raising their young. • Native Americans used the wood and berries for bartering and decorating.
Bay Grasses • In the shallow waters of the bay, many underwater grasses thrive. • These grasses are also known as submerged aquatic vegetation, or SAV, that grow completely underwater. • SAV have additional support that causes easier exchange of gasses.
Bay Grasses • SAV play an important role in bay ecology by performing many functions. • Some of these include providing food and habitat, filtering sediment, producing oxygen, and protecting the shoreline from erosion. • They also remove excess nutrients from the water which prevents overgrowth of algae.
Fishing on the Bay • The Chesapeake bay is home to 295 species of fish which only comprises 10 % of bay life. Only 32 fish are yearly residents. • The favorite Chesapeake bay fish species include; rockfish, bluefish, drum, speckled trout, flounder, spot, and croaker.
Sailing on the Bay • The recreational use of the Bay bring millions of dollars to the local economy annually
Surfing • Don’t you wish we had waves like this locally. • Average wave height at Virginia Beach, VA is about 3 feet.
HUNTING • The Chesapeake bay is the famous hunting ground. • Market and waterfowl hunting is a thing of the past.