For the Chesapeake Bay to be a productive ecosystem, the water of the Bay, its rivers and its streams must be healthy. In other words, it should be clear, contain the right amounts of oxygen and algae, and be free of chemical contaminants. Good water quality supports fish and wildlife populations and allows for healthy human interaction with the watershed.
Water quality is closely tied to many Bay restoration goals. For example, healthy waters support the growth of bay grass beds, which offer food and habitat to fish, shellfish and waterfowl. In addition, economically important species like blue crabs, oysters and striped bass need healthy, oxygen-rich waters to survive.
Efforts to improve water quality focus largely on reducing the amount of nutrients, sediment and chemical contaminants that enter the Bay. In order to reduce these pollutants, state, federal and local government agencies, as well as non-government organizations, plan and carry out both regulatory and voluntary pollution-reducing practices.