Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Complex

Ramsar logo

Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Complex

  • Country: 
    United States of America
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    45,000 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    38°00'N 76°19'W
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Complex. 04/06/87; Virginia; 45,000 ha; 38°00'N 076°20'W. National Wildlife Refuge, Wildlife Management Area, State Park, Natural Environment Area, Natural Resources Management Area. A vast estuarine complex, composed of multiple, physically separate protected areas. Ten major rivers enter the system. Natural habitats include sand beaches, dunes, mudflats, open water with submerged beds of aquatic vegetation, intertidal marshes, freshwater marshes, and lakes. The Bay is of particular importance for very large numbers of staging and wintering Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans, etc.) and other waterbirds. Breeding birds include two nationally endangered species. Other notable fauna include endangered marine turtles. The Bay's fishery (blue crab and oyster) is of significant economic importance, yielding a dockside value of $60 million per year. Environmental education, conservation-oriented recreation, and scientific research are the primary management objectives. Hunting and trapping of birds and mammals are strictly controlled. Ramsar site no. 375. Most recent RIS information: 1992.

Administrative region: 

  • National legal designation: 
    • national wildlife refuge
    • wildlife management area
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)