Chesapeake Bay vs. Albemarle-Pamlico Sound
The Chesapeake Bay and the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound are the two largest estuaries in North America. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America and spans 64,000 squares miles. This large body of water is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula and provides beautiful landscape that covers parts of Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, but mostly Maryland and Virginia. The watershed is made up of more than 150 rivers and streams and about 17 million people are in some type of contact with the watershed. The Albemarle-Pamlico Sound is the largest lagoon on the East Coast of the United States, but when discussing the network of lagoons that are interconnected to the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound, it is the second largest estuary in the country spanning about 30,000 square miles. This interconnected network of lagoons is known as the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound and consists of the Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound, Croatan Sound, Pamlico Sound, Bogue Sound, Core Sound, and Roanoke Sound. This watershed is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks, which is a row of islands that surround the outside of North Carolina. Being two of the largest estuaries in North America, the Chesapeake Bay and the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound have many similarities and differences in regards to their ecosystem, economic importance to their region, and their contributions to the local identity.
The Chesapeake Bay has an extremely diverse ecosystem with several kinds of habitats, including forest, rivers, the bay, itself, and different wetlands. This topical diversity means wildlife varies greatly. Since the Chesapeake Bay is a mixture of saltwater and freshwater, there are over 300 different species of fishes, and over 2,700 different plants. These different fish, plants, and other animals come and go seasonally. The freshwater comes from the streams and groundwater that run into the Bay, while the saltwater comes from the Atlantic Ocean. A crucial demand in the Chesapeake Bay would be the invertebrates, which are crabs and oysters. Since oysters help filter and clean the water and since there has been a decline in oysters, due to consumer demand, this has led to lower water qualities. This is all similar to that of the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound. Like all estuaries, they are rich in animal and plant life. The Albemarle-Pamlico is said to be dependent on its nursery habitat. However, issues with water quality are increasing. Because the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound is located in North Carolina, it is connecting over 50 counties, which is causing issues with water quality. This is due to watersheds that eventually drain into the Sound. The water being drained from farmland, cities and towns can be harmful to the Sound because it may have pesticides, fertilizers, sewage, and even oil in it.
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