The Chesapeake Bay
You drive across it on the way to the beach, but have you ever really thought about this amazing natural resource?
Illustration and text by Patterson Clark
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A few fun facts about the Chesapeake Bay
- Estuaries (where rivers meet oceans) are some of the most productive habitats. The Chesapeake is North America's largest estuary and the world's third-largest.
- On average, the bay is about 21 feet deep, but a deep channel runs through the middle — the trace of a prehistoric Susquehanna River.
- Native Americans called the bay "Tschiswapeki," or "great shellfish bay."
- Half a billion pounds of seafood are harvested from the bay every year.
- 150 rivers from six states and Washington, D.C., drain into the bay.
- The bay is 200 miles long and, at its widest, 30 miles across.
- 17 million people live within the area drained by the bay.
- The bay holds 15 trillion gallons of water.