The Chesapeake Bay Commission estimates that the population of the Chesapeake Bay will expand to 17.4 million by the year 2020. This population increase is expected to cause major stress to the Bay ecosystem if measure are not introduced to address management practices.
Understanding the ecology of the Bay is an important part of understanding the importance of different management practices. Management strategies in the Bay strive to reduce the amount of pollution and toxins within the Bay and restore habitats for the thousands of species that thrive there. The estuary is a complex ecosystem that includes important habitats and food chains.The terms often used to describe the bay include estuary, watershed, and wetland. Below you will find explanations of what these terms mean.
Oysters in Chesapeake Bay are one of the region’s most valuable commercial fisheries. The oysters also function as filter-feeders that cleans the water and provides food and shelter to other animals. Resource managers set specific targets for any of these ecosystem services or ecological functions as quantifiable goals for oyster restoration. In order to assess reef structural metrics, researchers utilize acoustic mapping, direct benthic sampling, underwater video, and aerial imagery.