The Bay’s watershed covers over 64 square miles. This includes all the rivers, creeks
and backyard streams that eventually drain into the Bay itself. This watershed stretches
as far north as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It runs east to the
first state, Delaware, and extends westward to the Appalachians.
The Bay’s shallow depth allows flora and fauna dependent upon light to flourish in most
of its waters. The Bay’s complex currents, generated by its mix of fresh and salt water,
amplify natural recycling processes, allowing the Bay to get the most out of available
The Bay’s Atlantic access draws back sea life from the ocean for spawning. This exceptional
productivity makes the Bay important to people worldwide. As a source of seafood alone, its
numbers are impressive: 90% of the nation’s soft-shell crab catch comes from the Bay; 55%
of the country’s Blue Crab harvest originates in the Chesapeake; and the Bay served as the
spawning ground for the 90% of the striped bass along America’s entire Atlantic Coast.