Billy Callaway (at the tiller, standing behind one of his workers) is the third generation of his family to fish for striped bass out of pound nets in the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Credit: David Harp.
An underwater fisheye-lens shot gives a dramatic view of bay grasses and a fisherman in the Susquehanna Flats. In recent years underwater grassbeds have suddenly expanded across the Flats, the broad, shoal-like shallows at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. Grass species returning to the Flats include redhead grass, coontail, watermilfoil, water stargrass, and wild celery. Credit: Octavio Aburto.
Full of twists and turns that stand out in this satellite image, the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed make up a grand and complex ecosystem. Scientists in the region are working to represent that entire environment using computer simulations, efforts that are guiding a new push to clean up the Bay. Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.
Blue crabs big enough for the "basket trade." These crabs can be sold for steaming and eating at summertime crab feasts. You can tell these are female crabs: they "paint their nails red." Photograph by Michael W. Fincham.
Did Algonquin tribes call the Chesapeake a "great shellfish bay?" Scholars disagree on the origins of the Bay's name, but scientists agree that the waters of the Chesapeake were once the greatest oyster grounds in the world. A new generation of oyster farmers could face a new challenge if acid levels rise in the estuary. Photograph by Michael W. Fincham.
More pounds of menhaden are landed each year than any other fish in the Chesapeake. The fish is valuable not only commercially but for the ecosystem — it provides food that sustains striped bass and ospreys and many other predatory fish and birds. With menhaden stocks at their lowest point in half a century, is it time to try a different kind of management?
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, seen from the eastern side, was designed with a high suspension span in the center to allow large ships to pass through on their way to and from Baltimore. The deepest waters under the bridge are not found under the high center span, but under the smaller span near the Eastern Shore. Buried beneath the eastern side of the Bay is the 18,000-year-old paleochannel of the Susquehanna River. Credit: Michael W. Fincham.
In the low-lying area of Maryland's Eastern Shore, houses on Hooper's Island, are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. After heavy rains and higher than average tides, water can pool in front yards and make impassable the one road that bisects this narrow sliver of land. Credit: Erica Goldman.
Thick and murky, the headwaters of the Corsica River drain nutrient-laden water dowstream to the mainstem Bay. Suspended sediment clouds the water along with single-celled algae thriving on a feast of excess nitrogen. Credit: Erica Goldman.
Marsh and mudflat intermingle at Kingman Marsh on the Anacostia River. Heart-shaped spadderdock (foreground) thrives, one of the few species not palatable to hungry resident geese. Credit: Erica Goldman.
Trees stretch toward western Maryland on a bright October morning. It's in the Bay watershed's western reaches that most big stands of forest remain. edge was impressive. Though early forest. Credit: Jack Greer.
Rescue boards in hand, rookie lifeguards hit the beach at Ocean City, Maryland. Their final training exercise includes using these surfer-style boards, often the fastest way to reach a swimmer caught in a rip current. Credit: Michael W. Fincham.
Dark sentinel on the Baltimore waterfront, the MV Cape Washingtonkeeps watch after its return from the war in Iraq. While it waits in ready reserve, the ship serves as a maritime test facility, helping to defend against invasive species transported in ballast water. Credit: Jessica Smits.
Like a conveyor belt for nutrient removal, this Algal Turf Scrubber uses mats of algae to take up nitrogen and phosphorus. Could devices like this help clean Susquehanna River water before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay? Credit: Erica Goldman.
The diamondback terrapin is known as the mascot of the University of Maryland College Park and the official state reptile. This particular diamondback is known as Patsy, and she was rescued by Marguerite Whilden of the TerrapinInstitute and Research Consortium. Credit: John Consoli.
Light bathes an oyster bar, with a little help from professional photographers. Veteran underwater cinematographer Nick Caloyianis (pictured here, with light), carefully set up this shot of a restored oyster reef, built on rubble from the Wilson Bridge. Behind him lies the unlit gloom of the Chesapeake, which grows murkier every year. Credit: Michael Eversmier, Aqua Ventures, Inc.
Green returns to Fulton Street. For a long time local residents fought to bring back a median originally designed in the early 1900s by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., son of the famed landscape architect who created New York's Central Park. The historic median disappeared in 1951 with the widening of Route 1, a north-south trucking route. With truck traffic drawn to bigger highways and after 12 years of community pressure, the city restored a 1.5-mile-long tree-lined median to this West Baltimore neighborhood. Credit: Skip Brown.
Oysters come streaming into Harris Seafood from the Chesapeake but also from the Carolinas, the Gulf, and New England. Local processors depend on product from waters far away and workers from other countries - especially guest workers from Mexico - to keep afloat. Credit: Skip Brown.
Clinging to any free surface they could find, dark false mussels encrusted ropes like this one in the summer of 2004, when a bivalve explosion took the Magothy, South, and Severn rivers by storm. Credit: Peter Bergstrom.
A hint of irony graces this trailered boat in an Eastern Shore fishing community. The Pfiesteria crisis of 1997 put watermen ouf of work and led to river closures, public panic, and a loss of $40 million in seafood sales in Maryland. Credit: Michael W. Fincham.
Gene Burreson and Nancy Stokes read an X-ray film showing the sequence of a key section of the DNA of MSX, the parasite that devastated oyster populations in both Delaware and Chesapeake bays. Though X-ray films have now given way to computer screens, the earlier technique provided a key to finally figuring out the probable origins of the MSX parasite. Credit: Michael W. Fincham.
Like glittering gems, oyster larvae recall a time when watermen dubbed abundant Chesapeake Bay oysters "white gold." Invisible to the naked eye, these larvae of the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica, use tiny hairlike cilia to swim in search of a place to settle. Credit: Maryland Sea Grant Extension.