Aerial View of the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Health

Key Issue

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Health

In line with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Protecting and restoring the largest estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Raising public awareness of the critical role estuaries—and the rivers and streams that flow into them—play in ensuring ready access to clean water for both humans and wildlife.
  • Encouraging our local community to take small actions in their daily lives—such as planting native wildlife gardens and reducing pollutants in stormwater—to help improve the health of the Bay.

We care about this issue because:

  • Home to more than 18 million people and 2,700 species, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is truly a natural and national treasure.
  • Habitats throughout the watershed, like forests and wetlands, help to filter and protect the drinking water of 75 percent its residents.
  • Human activity has negatively impacted the health of the Bay through pollution, unsustainable fishing practices and habitat destruction. Since restoration efforts began in the 1980s, we've seen many of the Bay's natural resources rebound.

We help by:

  • Working with our partners and volunteers to restore habitats throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Together with our volunteers, we've planted more than 250 acres of vital wetlands, forests and stream buffers. These habitats are directly responsible for cleaning the water we drink and the air we breathe!
  • Offering hands-on STEM education and meaningful watershed educational experiences to guests and local students, covering a wide range of topics including the importance of clean water and conservation actions we can all take to support a healthy Bay.
  • Advocating at the state and federal level for the Clean Water Act and other science-based policies that support water quality and watershed health, and educating Aquarium guests about why clean water is important and actions they can take in support.
  • In collaboration with local design partners, we've created a successful floating wetland prototype. By bringing these floating wetlands into Baltimore's Inner Harbor, we're able to both improve local water quality and reconnect our city to the Bay's natural wonder.

Updated February 2019