Eroding the Chesapeake Bay | Teen Ink

Eroding the Chesapeake Bay

September 12, 2009
By 9CatsPerLife101 PLATINUM, Fairfax, Virginia
9CatsPerLife101 PLATINUM, Fairfax, Virginia
20 articles 0 photos 96 comments

As more people move into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, development of new homes, roads, and businesses continues. We are choosing to move away from city centers and live in bigger houses on larger lots, causing wetlands, forests, and other valuable lands to be transformed into subdivisions, shopping centers, and parking lots-severely impacting the health of the Bay.

Development has been the largest cause of forestland clearing over the past 20 years. Where they used to cover 95% of the Bay watershed, forests now cover only 58%. Clear, exposed land is especially prone to erosion. The excess sediment clouds the water, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches Bay grasses. Without enough sunlight, these underwater grasses are not able to grow and provide habitats for young fish, blue crabs, and other important Bay life.

In the Bay watershed, river basins with the highest percentage of agricultural lands yield the highest overall amount of sediment annually, while basins with the highest percentage of forest cover yield the lowest amount of sediment. However, on a per-acre basis, construction sites contribute the most sediment of all land uses-as much as 10 to 20 times that of agricultural lands. As forests and wetlands are being destroyed to make room for roads and buildings, their ability to stabilize soils and the important habitat they offer are lost as well.

The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay depends on us citizens to do our part. To better understand the importance of studying the Bay, we need to be more involved. Maintaining a healthy lawn, planting gardens, and reseeding bare areas are all easy ways to conserve soil. By doing all we can to prevent erosion, we can not only save the Bay, but also conquer a challenge as a community.

The author's comments:
Hillay was inspired this piece when she became concerned about the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Similar Articles


This article has 21 comments.

kellyisgr8 said...
on Dec. 30 2009 at 2:02 pm
kellyisgr8, Fairfax, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 125 comments
I feel for the Chesapeake as well. Keep up the good work!