The Chesapeake Bay Program recently launched a new, improved version of its website which provides students, educators and members of the public with the latest information about Bay science, wildlife, pollution pressures and restoration efforts.

The redesign is intended to better reflect the needs of site visitors based on information gleaned from users over the last 13 years, said Mike Land of the National Park Service, who was project leader for the web design. Guy Stephens, of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, was the lead developer for the site.

Although a host of Bay Program material is available on the site, including notices of upcoming events and meeting materials going back more than a decade, the site is now better arranged to help visitors look for information more relevant to them, such as the health of the Bay and status of restoration efforts.

Some of the new and improved features to include:

More than 20 "issue" pages that detail the major topics and problems facing the Bay and its watershed. Each issue page includes background information, frequently asked questions, photos and videos, and the latest scientific data on that topic. The "Learn the Issues" section is alphabetized for easy browsing. Issues include agriculture, Bay grasses, blue crabs, nutrients and population growth.
A Chesapeake Bay blog, frequently updated with Bay-related news. The blog includes several features such as "Tributary Tuesday," "Watershed Wednesday" and "From the Field," which aim to share restoration success stories and uncover special places throughout the Bay region.
An improved photo library with hundreds of high-resolution images of the Bay and its watershed, wildlife and pollution problems. All of the Bay Program's images are free for use by students, educators and other non-commercial users.
A video library that contains dozens of short, informative videos on Bay science, restoration and ways people can help the Bay and its rivers.
An improved Bay Field Guide with more than 200 plants and animals that are found in the Bay region. Each species page includes photos, videos and life history information. The Bay Program adds a new species each month through its "Critter of the Month" feature.
A comprehensive, frequently asked questions section that contains hundreds of popular questions and answers about the Bay.
A database of more than 600 local watershed groups that offer volunteer opportunities to help the Bay and its local streams. Visitors can search the database by location to find the group that's closest to them.
A Chesapeake Bay history time line that covers important historic geologic, cultural and political events dating from 35 million years ago to today.
Visit chesapeakebay.net to learn more.