The Chesapeake Bay is a serene estuary located in the United States of America. The bay is the largest of the more than 100 estuaries in the United States. The bay stretches to about 200 miles. The bay covers six states the United States. They are the state of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and District of Columbia.
The Chesapeake Bay varies in depth and size. Its narrowest point measures about 2.8 miles. Its center, on the other hand, has a thickness of about 172 feet.
Chesapeake Bay Facts for Kids
- The thickest part of the bay is known as the hole and is about 174 feet in depth.
- The bay holds more than 18 million gallons of water.
- The freshwater tributaries that flow into the bay feed it with about 51 billion gallons of water each day.
- 80% of the freshwater feeding the bay is drawn from the three largest rivers being the Potomac, James River, and the Susquehanna.
- Is home to nearly 29 species of waterfowl.
- The bay’s land to water ratio is 14:1.
- Forests take up about 55 percent of the Chesapeake Bay.
- There are more than 700 public access points.
- Its watershed has a human population of more than eighteen million.
- The bay traces its origin to more than 12,000 years ago. It is said that the bay formed when the glaciers melted flooding into the Susquehanna River.
- Historians believe the bay draws its name from an Alonquin word, ‘Chesepioc.’ The early historians believed that the word ‘Chesepioc’ might be loosely translated to mean ‘great selfish bay.’ This was until 2005 when an Alonguin historian dispelled this belief and said that correct meaning of the name ‘Chesepioc’ is a village ‘at a long river.’
- The bay was once described as the most productive estuary in the United States of America. The latest population statistics show that the bay has a human population of over 17 million people. Additionally, the bay is the habitat to more than 3600 species of plants.
- The bay attracts over one million waterfowl birds in the annual migration along the Atlantic Migratory Bird flyway. The birds come and stop at the bay to feed as the bay is a habitat to a wide variety of animals and plants. Specifically, the bay supports about 2,700 species of plants including 16 underwater grass species.
- In addition to being of safety value, the lighthouses along the bay make it a beautiful site. The lighthouses have been specially built so to guide sailors. With these lighthouses, accidents along the bay have significantly been eliminated.
- More than 150 significant rivers feed the bay each day. The bay holds more than fifteen million gallons of water. Its principal rivers are the York, James, Rappahannock and the Potomac.
- The bay derives a lot of revenue from the tourism sector. The annual migration along the Atlantic Migratory Bird Flyway is the highlight.
- The bay being a habitat to over 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish earns a lot of revenue from the export of fish.
- The transport sector is also of high economic value. The bay is the host to two out of the five major airports in the North Atlantic. These are the Baltimore and Hampton Roads. The airports provide convenient entry and exit point for the export of fish, seafood and for the entry and exit of tourists.
- Approximately eight million acres of the bay’s land is permanently shielded from development
1. How many states border the Chesapeake Bay?
2. Describe the origin of the name Chesapeake Bay?
1. Six of the states making up the United States border the Chesapeake Bay.
2. Historians believe that the bay got its name from the word Chesepiooc which is an Algonquian name meaning a village at a big river.