Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Maryland

Situated in the largest estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay Reserve encompasses more than 6,000 acres at three sites that reflect the diversity of local habitats. An abundance of wildlife, including green-backed herons and snowy egrets, make their homes here, as do a variety of fish, including striped bass. Reserve staff work to improve coastal resource management by increasing the scientific understanding of estuaries and making estuarine research relevant, meaningful, and accessible to coastal resource managers, communities, and other stakeholders through a combination of training, educational programs, and collaboration.

Visit the Reserve's Website

Vital Stats

  • State: Maryland
  • State Partner:

    Maryland Department of Natural Resources

  • Acreage: 6,249
  • Habitats: The reserve encompasses salt marsh at Monie Bay, a tidal freshwater marsh at Otter Point Creek, and a tidal riverine system at Jug Bay.
  • Designated: 1985
  • Site Profile: View
The Chesapeake Bay reserve participates in the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP), which collects, analyzes, and makes available weather, water quality, and nutrient data from all National Estuarine Research Reserves. Learn more


Live along the Chesapeake or planning a visit? With three components throughout the state, this reserve is bound to have a site near you. You can visit the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, the research and education facility at Otter Point Creek, or just bring yourself and your binoculars for a quiet nature walk to look for local birds, butterflies, dragonflies—whatever suits your fancy!


Volunteers keep many of the Chesapeake Maryland reserve’s programs and projects staffed and on track to meet their goals. From monitoring marsh elevation and surveying “secretive” marsh birds to captaining a pontoon boat or serving as a canoe guide—there are many opportunities to get involved at each of the reserve’s sites.

Learn more

Become a Friend

The Chesapeake Maryland reserve receives support from two groups. The Otter Point Creek Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to the support of the reserve’s Otter Point Creek site by advancing environmental education for all ages, offering volunteer opportunities, supporting research, sponsoring college internships, and promoting stewardship and conservation. Friends of Jug Bay is a nonprofit organization that acts to preserve the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and support related education and research programs.

Join Today

Did you know?

Through the Chesapeake Maryland reserve, every year hundreds of fourth graders experience their local marshes—and their inhabitants—for the first time.


Jennifer Raulin
Reserve manager
Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Maryland
580 Taylor Avenue, E-2, Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)