Skip Navigation

Chesapeake Bay Watershed


The largest estuary in North America, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the Bay. More than 300 species of fish, shellfish and crab species and a wide array of other wildlife call the Bay home. With almost 30 percent of area in agricultural production, the region’s over 83,000 farms generate more than $10 billion annually.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed depends on a future that includes an agricultural sector that is not only productive but also protects natural resources. The 2013 CEAP study, “Impacts of Conservation Adoption on Cultivated Acres of Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region, 2003-06 to 2011,” shows that there have been significant reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loading from cropland in the region in recent years.  However, the report also estimates that nearly 20 percent of cropland acres still have a high level of conservation treatment need.  With the CCA designation, USDA will build on existing strong partnerships in the watershed to design and help fund innovative projects that will address these conservation needs, ultimately supporting rural economies, protecting wildlife habitat and improving water quality in the Bay. 

Printer-friendly CCA map (PDF, 1MB)

Shapefiles for GIS (ZIP, 160KB)

Thumbmail of Chesapeake Bay CCA Map

CCA Priorities

Partners interested in submitting projects should consider the overall goal of the CCA and priority resource concerns. CCA project proposals that align with NRCS priorities may rank higher in the evaluation of proposals.

Overall Goal: Reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loads coming from private lands.

Resource Concern Priorities

Water Quality Degradation: Excessive sediment in surface water; excess nutrients in surface and ground waters

Inadequate Habitat for Fish and Wildlife: Habitat degradation

CCA Home Page | Chesapeake Bay Watershed | Great Lakes Region | Mississippi River Basin | Colorado River Basin | Longleaf Pine Range | Columbia River Basin | Prairie Grasslands Region | California Bay Delta