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The Chesapeake Bay


The Chesapeake Bay is a large body of water located on the Atlantic coast of the United States.  The States of Maryland and Virginia border the Chesapeake Bay and the bay has a major economic impact on both of those states.

The Chesapeake Bay is 200 miles long with its widest point being 35 miles and its narrowest being 3.5 miles.  The average depth of the Chesapeake Bay is 21 feet with a few points being as much as 174 feet deep.  It's estimated that the Bay holds 18 trillion gallons of water.

Many streams and rivers flow directly or indirectly into the Chesapeake Bay.  These streams and rivers make up part of the large Chesapeake Bay watershed.  A watershed is an area of land where all of the water drains off into the same place.  Parts of six states, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York and all of the District of Columbia is part of the Chesapeake Bay's 64,299 square mile watershed with Sixteen Million people live within it.

There are 130 estuaries in the Unites States and the Chesapeake Bay is the largest.  An estuary is a place where the salt water of an ocean meets fresh water of  streams and rivers.

The 444 mile long Susquehanna River is the largest of the rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay.  Half of the fresh water that flows into the Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna.  The Susquehanna Rivers begins in New York and empties into the northern Chesapeake Bay.

The Potomac River, which has historically been the border between Maryland and Virginia, is another large river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  The Potomac is 383 miles long beginning in West Virginia.
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