240 Million Pounds Line

The Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem includes 1,500 square miles of wetlands that provide critical habitat for fish, and wildlife; filterl waste; and buffer coastal areas against storm damage. Increased nitrogen loads destroy Bay health by fueling excessive growth of phytoplankton and algae, which blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic grasses, and depletes oxygen needed for bottom-dwelling sea life, like oysters and crabs.

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Bay health directly affects the economic health of the region. Between 1998 and 2006, watermen, grocers, wholesalers, restaurants and crab processors in Maryland and Virginia lost $640 million due to the decline of crabs in the Bay. Oyster decline has caused $4 billion in losses in the past
30 years. (The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, www.cbf.org)