Scientists evaluate Chesapeake Bay health by monitoring important habitats, fish and shellfish, and water quality measures in the Bay and its watershed. They also track pollution, population and other measures that affect the Bay’s health.
The Bay’s health has slowly improved in some areas. However, the ecosystem remains in poor condition. The Bay continues to have polluted water, degraded habitats, and low populations of many fish and shellfish species.
Healthy forests, streams and rivers are critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Protecting forests will protect clean air and water, while lowering pollution in rivers will lower pollution entering the Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay is a dynamic system. What happens in the air and on the land affects the water. Human activities like land use or pollution and natural factors like rainfall or river flow have a big impact on watershed health.