The rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay provide critical habitat to fish and wildlife and a vital resource to people. Because these tributaries act like pipelines from our communities to the Bay—picking up pollutants as they flow through farms, suburbs and cities—we must limit the amount of pollution we generate. We must also safeguard stream health and protect watersheds that are in good condition, as their benefits can be hard to rebuild once lost. By restoring degraded waterways and protecting pristine areas, we support clean water across the region.
Many parts of the Chesapeake Bay contain excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment, and are listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), or “pollution diet,” uses Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to reduce nutrients and sediment in each of the watershed states and the District of Columbia. Reducing pollution is critical to restoring the watershed because clean water is the foundation for healthy fisheries, habitats and communities across the region.
Toxic contaminants harm fish and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay and pose risks to human health that limit the amount of fish people can consume. Reducing the impacts of toxic contaminants is critical to improving the health of fish and wildlife, thereby improving their recreational value for the public.
Many small, healthy watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay region are at risk of degradation as demand for local lands and resources increases. Promoting the long-term conservation and protection of healthy watersheds through stakeholder engagement, collaboration and education is critical to maintaining the health of the larger ecosystem.