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Chesapeake Bay Research Project : 

Chesapeake Bay Research Project

May 5, 2005 By: Northside Middle School Students: Adam Foster, Anthony Phillips & April Smitheman Guidance provided by : 

May 5, 2005 By: Northside Middle School Students: Adam Foster, Anthony Phillips & April Smitheman Guidance provided by

Table of Contents: 

Table of Contents History Geography Flora Fauna Industry Recreation Problems/Threats Solutions

History of the Bay: 

History of the Bay The bay was formed from natural events during the last ice age. The first to enter the bay was Vicente Gonzalez. John Smith was the first to thoroughly explore the bay.

History of the Bay (cont.): 

History of the Bay (cont.) The bay has been used for fishing for thousands of years. The word Chesapeake means in Indian, “Great Shellfish Bay”. You can catch Rockfish, Bluefish, Flounder along with many other fish species.

Bay Geography: 

Bay Geography The Chesapeake covers 64,000 square miles. Tributary rivers include the Susquehanna, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahanock, York and James. Chesapeake waters flow into the Atlantic Ocean at Hampton Roads at the Bay's southeastern end.

Bay Geography (cont.): 

Bay Geography (cont.) The length of the Bay is about189 miles. It is about 4 miles wide near Annapolis, Maryland. It is 30 miles at its widest, near the mouth of the Potomac River.


Bay Flora Sea Grass Phytoplankton Sea lettuce

Plant 1: 

Plant 1 Bay grasses improve water quality and provide food and shelter for animals. 16 species of underwater grass are found in the Bay. 64,000 acres of grasses were in the Bay in 2003, much less than the year before.

Plant 2: 

Plant 2 Algae (Phytoplankton) are small, microscopic plants.  They are photosynthetic, and produce their own food from sunlight.  Phytoplankton are a primary producer of the oxygen we breathe. 

Plant 3: 

Plant 3 Sea Lettuce (Seaweed) are found in brackish and higher salinity waters of the Bay. When seaweed over-grows, it can reduce oxygen for other organisms. It grows in waters that are nutrient-rich or polluted.

Endangered Flora Species: 

Endangered Flora Species American Lotus Tawny Cottongrass


Bay Fauna Blue Crabs Striped Bass Blue Fish

Animal 1: 

Animal 1 Blue Crabs or “Callinectes Sapidus” are ten-legged crustaceans. It walks sideways and defends itself with sharp pincer claws. The crab's favorite food are bivalves, but when scarce, cannibalism increases.

Animal 2: 

Animal 2 Rockfish, Striped Bass or “Morone Saxatilis” hatch 29 - 80 hours after fertilization. They are light green, olive, steel blue, brown or black. They get a name from the seven or eight dark, stripes along their sides.

Animal 3: 

Animal 3 Bluefish or “Pomatomus Saltatrix” or Snapper are found all along the east coast. They migrate north in the spring and and south in the fall. They travel in groups or “schools”.

Endangered Fauna Species: 

Endangered Fauna Species Marine Turtles Bald Eagle

Bay Industry Blue Crabs Oysters Menhaden : 

Bay Industry Blue Crabs Oysters Menhaden

Industry 1: 

Industry 1 Our bay has been the largest producer of Blue Crabs in the country. Blue Crab harvests have been going down since the early 1980’s. The reasons are over-harvesting, disease and the loss of habitat.

Industry 2: 

Industry 2 The Bay Oyster harvests have gone down to less than 1% percent of its peak in the 1870’s. In 1980, the Bay provided the country with 50% of US oysters. The Bay now provides only 1-5% of oysters.

Industry 3: 

Industry 3 Menhaden fish are important because they have the ability to filter water. There is no quota to limit harvests. Over-fishing for Menhaden is ruining the Bay's most valuable resource.

Bay Recreational Uses Fishing Boating Camping : 

Bay Recreational Uses Fishing Boating Camping

Recreational Use 1: 

Recreational Use 1 Fishing is a popular recreation on the Bay. It provides hours of fun for millions of people. Tourism is an important industry which provides many jobs.

Recreational Use 2: 

Recreational Use 2 Boating is also a popular Bay recreation. Boat builders, supplies, sales, marinas, charters, and restaurants are all related Bay industries. Boat sales are falling.

Recreational Use 3: 

Recreational Use 3 Camping is another popular Bay recreation. There are many campsites in Maryland and Virginia. Events include shows, festivals and fairs which attract visitors, because camping is fun, affordable lodging.

Bay Problems/Threats Natural Threats Industrial/Developmental Improper Disposition : 

Bay Problems/Threats Natural Threats Industrial/Developmental Improper Disposition

Problem 1: 

Problem 1 The Bay's pollution is mostly from too many nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus. These elements effect the food chain and ecosystem. When the delicate balance is upset, animals and plants die.

Problem 2: 

Problem 2 Other pollutants are toxic chemicals, air, and landscape changes. Wetlands are very fragile, but vital to the world’s ecosystem. Industry, property developers and lawmakers don’t always consider the value of our Bay.

Problem 3: 

Problem 3 Sedimentation involves particles carried off land and into waterways. Household and lawn care products in drains don’t help the problem. Improper disposal of auto products also plays a part.

Bay Solutions Study Action Awareness : 

Bay Solutions Study Action Awareness

Solution 1: 

Solution 1 Studies for controlling nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus should be made. Laws, use guidelines and monitoring could play a bigger part. Education should be key for all who enjoy the Bay.

Solution 2: 

Solution 2 Vote for those who consider the Bay, more than potential revenue in development of our shorelines. Report dumping or activities which threaten your Bay community. Your family can increase awareness of materials you use everyday.

Solution 3: 

Solution 3 Think of our beautiful Bay and continue to increase your awareness of possible threats to it. Share what you learn with family and friends. Walk on the beach, collect shells, and watch the Bay shoreline closely, whenever you can.

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