July 19, 2018
By Bryan Watts, Center for Conservation Biology
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest estuaries in North America and one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems on the planet. Its watershed covers portions of six states and is home to more than 18 million people. The economic benefit flowing from the Bay to these six states is estimated to be 30 billion dollars annually. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order designating the Bay as a national treasure and recognizing its importance to the entire country. An intended outcome of this designation was to rally the resources needed to protect the unique constellation of species that rely on the Bay. The Bay is subjected to an unrelenting assault from the people and industries that live and operate within its watershed.
Expedition Chesapeake is a multi-media project funded by the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts that is designed to educate and inspire the residents of the watershed to become better stewards of the Bay. It focuses on the interconnections found within the complex ecosystem and how activities within one portion of the Bay may have unintended consequences in others. The anchor of the program will be a 44-minute, giant-screen documentary film that highlights the ecology and ongoing conservation research focused on six iconic species including the blue crab, oyster, striped bass, osprey, river otter and hellbender. The film will be hosted by Emmy award winning TV personality, Jeff Corwin.
CCB’s ongoing work with osprey on the upper James River will be featured in the documentary film. Recently, a film crew from VIA Studios traveled down to the James along with Jeff Corwin to film nesting osprey and CCB biologists working on the river. The film opening is scheduled for 19 March, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The film is intended to be distributed worldwide to reach museum audiences.