The Chester River

The Chester River represents the nexus of productive land and water. A brackish tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, the Chester’s landscape historically has been dominated by agricultural land and punctuated with small towns and villages.  The Chester’s 368 square mile watershed is home to oysters, catfish, striped bass, diamondback terrapin, blue heron, perch, and the famed Chesapeake blue crab.

While beautiful on the surface, a closer looks reveals that the Chester River is at risk from pollution. Algal blooms fueled by nutrient pollution create de-oxygenated dead zones and associated fish kills. Sediment pollution smothers oysters and clouds the water blocking sunlight to habitat-creating submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). Sources of pollution include poorly managed farms, failing septic systems, and untreated stormwater. Unchecked development and suburbanization increasingly are threats to our river and our way of life.

But there is reason for hope. ShoreRivers and the Chester Riverkeeper are working tirelessly to protect and restore the Chester River. We are documenting small but steady improvements in water quality. Nutrient and sediment pollution are decreasing in many areas, and SAV has taken root providing critical habitat. Together, we can achieve our vision of a healthy Chester River.