The Chesapeake Bay watershed is an estuary made up of water from the Atlantic Ocean and the watershed of six states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Managing, Preserving & Protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Grades 9-12

Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) uses data and science to better understand the Chesapeake Bay, which helps the agency determine how best to meet the opportunities and challenges to manage, protect, and preserve the Chesapeake Bay. In this lesson, students will explore actions the DNR takes to protect the Chesapeake Bay. They will also learn about the importance of working with individuals, community organizations, and different governmental bodies to accomplish its mission.

Teacher's Guide and Related Standards


Students will be able to explain how data and science impact environmental policy, and evaluate the roles that individuals, community organizations, and governmental bodies play in protecting and preserving natural resources and the environment.

Essential Questions

  • Why is it important to weigh costs and benefits when managing natural resources?
  • How do regional interests shape the formation and implementation of government policy?
  • How do the principles of government and competing interests impact the formation and implementation of public policy?

State Circle Clip

Thinking questions:

  • What kinds of decisions does the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have responsibility for making?
  • Why is the Chesapeake Bay Watershed an important natural resource?
  • What is the DNR doing to manage, protect, and preserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and what are some of the challenges it faces in doing so?


Supplemental Enrichment Activities

Understanding the
Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Chesapeake Bay Week videos

Direct students to watch one of the Chesapeake Bay Week specials and then create a written or video review of the program that highlights what they learned.

» Go to Videos

Economic Costs & Benefits

The Economic Importance of the Bay

Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake

Direct students to use the information on these web pages to create an infographic on the costs and benefits of preserving and protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

» Go to Economic Importance web page

» Go to Economic Benefits web page

Shaping Public Policy

Find A Bay Organization

Direct students to do independent research to investigate and report on an individual, organization, or government entity that is working to manage, protect, and/or preserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

» Go to Web page

Career Connections


This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport.