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10 Things You Probably Didnt Know About Chesapeake Bay
The southern portion of the Chesapeake Bay is found in Virginia and is part of the Hampton Roads area. Its location makes it a prime spot for real estate and a great area to invest in a home for first time and return homebuyers and sellers. The area has a lot to offer from a rich economy to a diverse culture, but there are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Chesapeake Bay that we’d like to share.
#1: It’s Super Old
Most people associate the Bay with the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. In fact, most think of the colony’s establishment as the start of Chesapeake Bay’s history. However, the Bay’s history stretches back much further than 1607.
According to the Bay History Timeline, the area’s past can be traced back as far as 35 million years ago when a bolide hit what is today the lower tip of the Delmarva Peninsula. It created a 55-mile wide crater, which shaped the region’s rivers and the location of Chesapeake Bay.
#2: It Holds a Lot of Water
It seems like an obvious fact. After all, a bay is supposed to hold water. But you might be surprised to learn just how much Chesapeake Bay holds. The water in the Bay could fill more than 50 billion bathtubs to the brim. It holds and safely contains roughly 18 trillion gallons of water.
#3: It’s Not Solely Supplied by the Ocean
The Bay’s coastal location makes it a fair assumption it’s fueled solely by the ocean, but it’s not. Only 50 percent of the water comes from the sea. The other 50 percent is the product of a 64,000 square mile watershed, extending roughly 524 miles from Norfolk to Cooperstown, Virginia. Additionally, some 51 billion gallons of water enter on a daily basis from the 150 rivers, streams, and creeks that feed into the Bay.
#4: It’s Not Deep
Here’s a fun fact: A six-foot-tall person could wade through over 700,000 acres of Chesapeake Bay without going under the water! The deepest part of the Bay is surprisingly shallow in comparison to other bodies of water in the United States. Referred to as “the Hole,” the deepest part of the Bay is roughly 170 feet deep.
#5: It’s Populated
Each year, the Bay produces approximately 500 million pounds of seafood. Some 70 to 90 percent of all striped bass spawn in the Bay. Additionally, the Bay supports over 2,700 species of animals and plants.
#6: Harvest Numbers Have Declined
It’s no surprise there’s a huge fishing industry centered in the Bay, but what might surprise you is how the harvest numbers have declined. The Bay used to supply harvests of tens of millions of bushels of oysters. Today, harvests have dropped to less than one percent of historic levels.
#7: It’s Losing to Development
The Bay is over 50 percent forest. However, each day the region loses roughly 100 acres of its forest to development. The decline in forests and increase in development makes pollution and decline in seafood a growing problem the area is attempting to address and solve.
#8: It’s a Fresh and Salt Water Mix
The Chesapeake Bay is a unique mix of both fresh and salt water, called an estuary. Of the 100 or so estuaries found in the United States, the Bay is the largest. It’s approximately 200 miles long and 4 miles wide at some of its largest points. Two of the five major North Atlantic ports in the U.S. (Baltimore and Hampton Roads) are located on the Bay.
#9: It’s Protected
Despite the losing battle to development, a portion of the Bay is protected. Roughly 8 million acres of land in the watershed have been permanently protected from development. There are some 700 public access points to the Bay and its offshoots. Additionally, the Bay was one of the first estuaries in the U.S. to be targeted for restoration as an integrated watershed and ecosystem.
#10: The People Population
At last count, roughly 17 million people live, work, and play in the Bay’s watershed. What we do in our backyards directly affects the local rivers, streams, and creeks. Therefore, we each influence what happens to Chesapeake Bay itself. What will your impact be?
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