Habitat Conservation: The Chesapeake Bay

As America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay is truly a national treasure. The Bay measures approximately 200 miles from north to south, has over 11k miles of shoreline and is fed by a watershed that includes over 150 rivers stemming from over 64,000 square miles of land in 6 states and the District of Columbia.

The future of the Chesapeake Bay is at risk: The health of the Bay is greatly impacted by those who simply live in the Mid-Atlantic region. As the population in the watershed grows, nutrient pollution and urban run-off clog the Bay’s waters with excess algae decreasing oxygen and creating large underwater zones that are devoid of life.

What Impacts the Health of the Bay?

Oyster Population Decline


see how oysters:

The Oyster

The foundation of all life in the Chesapeake Bay

Oysters are of the utmost importance to providing clean water, healthy fisheries, sustainable seafood, and ecological and economic health for Maryland. Unfortunately, the oyster population is a small percentage of what it once was. Decades of overharvest, outbreaks of diseases, and a loss of habitat to siltation and degradation have plagued the oyster resource.

Thankfully, oysters have seen recent improvements in their population, and many are focused on creating a bright future for oyster habitat in the Chesapeake Bay. As a “keystone” species, oysters grow their own homes, their shell, and build reef habitats that benefit the ecosystem as a whole.

Litter & Trash
Other Threats

There's Still Time

We can work together to enhance our marine habitat and clean up the Bay. Artificial reefs and other local efforts are making a difference.

Artificial Reefs

Video Credit: Kent Island Scuba

What is a Reef Ball?

What is a Reef Ball?

The world's most used artificial reef

Reefball Foundation Logo

Reef balls are a specially designed artificial reef unit that works great in a variety of marine and estuarine environments. They are a perfect design for creating three dimensional habitat, and a great place for underwater organisms to thrive. The Reef Ball Foundation and Reef Innovations are important partners to all of the work that CCA Maryland does in the region.

Living Reef Action Campaign
Reef Ball Partners

Other Local Efforts


Chesapeake Cleanup Project

June 1-31, 2021



Ocean City Reef Foundation

A valued leader in building ocean habitat in the Ocean City, MD area. 


No Shoes Reefs - DEEP Apparel

Supporting CCA Maryland's Habitat Work.

Making Progress

The map below shows some of the sites where CCA Maryland has deployed reef balls and the businesses, non-profits and schools who have partnered with us to build them.

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You can help create a safe & healthy Bay for generations to come

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