Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Chesapeake Bay is America's largest estuary and one of the most productive bodies of water in the world.  This watershed spans 64,000 square miles, touching on six states and is central to Maryland's identity and its economy.

These reports are produced as part of WYPR's collaboration with Delaware Public Media and Virginia and Delmarva Public Radio stations to examine a broad spectrum of issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Annie Ropeik/Delaware Public Media

When environmentalists talk about the rise of huge, factory-style chicken farms on the Delmarva Peninsula, they’re usually worried about runoff into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. But there’s another problem: the effect on neighbors. Maryland and Virginia are developing basic safeguards to protect folks who think they’ve bought a piece of heaven only to have a chicken farm spring up next door. But some in Delaware say the view from their back yards is a little different. 

  Environmentalists saw a victory last week when congress allocated close to 11 million dollars of the 2016-spending bill for land conservation along the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

For the past four years environmentalists from the region have been urging Congress to permanently protect close to 15,000 acres of land in the watershed.

Joel Dunn, the President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy based in Annapolis says 35 nonprofits, four Indian tribes, five governors, nine U.S. Senators and 17 members of the house, put together a large proposal to protect vital areas along the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Captain John Smith trail.


Joel McCord

Five years ago, Maryland oysters most likely were caught wild by a commercial waterman dredging the Chesapeake Bay bottom. Now, it’s increasingly likely those oysters were farm raised as the state’s aquaculture program has grown exponentially. 

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel Out Of Danger, Sort Of

Nov 13, 2015
Pamela D'Angelo

The Eastern Shore’s Delmarva Fox Squirrel showed up on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s first-ever endangered species list back in 1967, along with the bald eagle and the Florida manatee. The eagle came off that list in 2007, the service has been talking about removing the manatee for two years, and Friday the service officially removed the squirrel from its federally protected designation. 

Delaware Lags in Chesapeake Clean-up

Nov 13, 2015
Annie Ropeik

The states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have been working to drastically reduce the amount of pollutants and sediment they put into bay waterways by 2025. But some are moving more quickly than others. According to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency, Delaware is far off track to meet its halfway milestones in 2017 and at least part of the reason is the lack of money. 

Using Science And Sandy Money To Save Wildlife Refuges

Oct 30, 2015
Pamela D'Angelo

  Some of the Chesapeake Bay’s pristine wildlife refuges are drowning, casualties of erosion and the rising waters caused by climate change. So, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is moving to save to of Maryland’s prized refuges with money allocated for recovery from superstorm Sandy and new science techniques.