Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2007-20


Linking estuarine research to local community heritage & environmental values: lessons from the Chesapeake Bay.




Power, LP; Paolisso, M


Practicing Anthropology 29(1):29-34


The Chesapeake Bay watershed has entered a period of great environmental and socioeconomic transformation. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, boasting a highly productive watershed with a complex ecosystem rich in plant vegetation, marine resources, and wildlife. The Bay resonates with cultural significance throughout the mid-Atlantic region, encompassing divergent environmental values and uses. Therefore, the Bay attracts a spectrum of resource users from strict preservationists to commercial fishermen, serving as a recreational outlet for residents and tourists, providing economic opportunity and livelihood, and representing a rich cultural history of traditional communities and outdoor activities. Over the last several decades, however, agricultural run-off, increased development, and other point and non-point sources of pollution have detrimentally affected arguably the most productive estuary in the world—thereby impacting the cultural and economic vibrancy of surrounding communities (Boesch and Greer 2003).

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