The Watershed


Chesapeake Bay is wide and shallow, so contains a small amount of water for an estuary of its size. It also has a very large area of watershed for its volume of water, and thus is quite susceptible to contamination from activities in the watershed. Originally almost entirely forested, the watershed now is the site of coal mining, industry, agriculture and, increasingly, urbanization. A forest acts like a sponge, evening flows and filtering nutrients. Without its forests, the watershed is prone do delivering bursts of freshwater, contaminated with nutrients and worse into the Bay. To save the bay, it is necessary to reclaim at least part of the forests function in the watershed.

Acid seeps from old coal mines have killed fish in hundreds of miles of tributary streams in central PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Forester Doug D'Amore shows one of the remediation efforts to treat acid mine runoff.  Though millions of dollars have been spent, tens of millions or more would be needed to solve the problemSteam emerges from the ground in Centralia, PA, where burning coal seams have forced abandonment of a town

The Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna provides renewable power, but at the cost of interfering with American Shad and other fish migration.  A fish elevator has been installed to help alleviate this problem







The group pauses for a picnic in Lancaster County, PA where productive farms contribute to nutrient loading of the bayA group photo at Three Mile Island.  Though not presently an issue in the watershed, historically the nuclear accident here led to a halt in construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. for many years