Migratory Finfish Spawning & Nursery

Habitat: tidal fresh to low salinity habitats in upper reaches of many Bay tidal tributaries and upper mainstem Chesapeake Bay supporting an array of anadromous and semi-anadromous (resident Bay species that live in saltier waters but spawn in freshwater tributaries) fish.

Target Species / Communities: striped bass, American & hickory shad, alewife, blueback herring, white & yellow perch (spawning, larval and early juvenile life stages only).

Critical Support (food, shelter) Communities: zooplankton, underwater grasses, bottom-dwelling worms & clams, forage fish.

Shallow Water

Habitat: nearshore and other shallow water habitats supporting a variety of species that depend on underwater grasses and other shallow water structures for shelter & location of food species.

Target Species / Communities: largemouth bass, pickerel, speckled sea trout (juvenile), blue crabs

Critical Support Communities: underwater grasses, forage fish, bottom-dwelling worms and clams.

Open Water

Habitat: water column habitats extending out away from shallow water habitats to mid-channels of tidal tributaries and across extensive areas of mainstem Bay.

Target Species / Communities: menhaden, Bay anchovy, striped bass (adult).

Critical Support Communities: phytoplankton, zooplankton, forage fish.

Deeper Water & Bottom Feeding/ Dwelling Finfish & Shellfish

Habitat: near bottom and deeper water column habitats extending out away from shoreline and shallow waters down into deep main channels in tidal tributaries and across extensive areas of mainstem Bay.

Target Species / Communities: blue crab, oyster, softshell clam, hard clam, spot, croaker, flounder, catfish.

Critical Support Communities: bottom- dwelling worms, clams, reef-inhabiting forage fish.

Seasonally Available Deep Channel

Habitat: very deep water column and bottom habitats located principally in the river channel at the lower reaches of the major rivers and along the spine of mainstem Bay.

Target Species / Communities: blue crab, migrating striped bass, others.

Critical Support Communities: bottom- dwelling worms, clams.