Buzzards Bay

Buzzards Bay

Buzzards Bay is a bay of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the state of Massachusetts. It is approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) long by 12 kilometers (8 miles) wide and is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and tourism. Since 1914, Buzzards Bay has been connected to Cape Cod Bay by the Cape Cod Canal. In 1998 Buzzards Bay was designated an Estuary of National Significance.


It is surrounded by the Elizabeth Islands on the south, by Cape Cod on the east, and the southern coasts of Bristol and Plymouth Counties in Massachusetts to the northwest. To the southwest, the bay is connected to Rhode Island Sound. The city of New Bedford, Massachusetts is a historically significant port on Buzzards Bay, known for its role as one of the world's most successful whaling ports in the early- to mid-1800s.


The latter portion of the Pleistocene Epoch in New England saw the creation of Buzzards Bay through the interplay of glacial and oceanic processes. Beginning approximately 50,000-70,000 years ago, the edges of the continental ice sheet covering much of northern North America began to fluctuate, leaving moraines to mark former extents of the ice. One such moraine forms most of the eastern shoreline of Buzzards Bay.

In addition to the moraines, the melting ice sheet produced extensive outwash plains composed of mixed sediments and ice that bordered the bay to the northwest and west. Melting ice blocks in the outwash deposits formed distinctive circular features called kettle lakes. Numerous examples of kettle lakes can be found to the northwest of the Cape Cod Canal. Finally, waters released from the melting ice sheet raised sea level by 60-120 meters (198-396 feet) and drowned preexisting outwash channels. Buzzards Bay attained its broad current configuration approximately 15,000 years ago; the current sea level was present approximately 3,500 years ago.

The combination of shallow depth, tidal action and surface waves promotes mixing of the estuarine waters leading to a productive aquatic ecosystem. Like many estuaries, however, increasing development and land-use change by the surrounding communities are accompanied by nutrient runoff leading to eutrophication (an increase in nutrient levels leading to oxygen depletion) in the smaller embayments. Decreases in eelgrass, scallops, and herring have also been noted, but direct cause-and-effect relationships are not clear. Coordinated management efforts in Buzzards Bay have helped to decrease shellfish closures, conserve habitat for sea birds, and preserve open space.


The name was given to this bay by colonists who saw a large bird that they called a buzzard near its shores. The bird was actually an osprey, and small numbers of osprey continue to breed along the shores of the bay.

In 1991, towns located on Buzzards Bay suffered the worst effects from the storm surge of Hurricane Bob.

The bay was the location of one of only three documented fatal shark attacks in the state's history. It occurred in 1936.


*Baret Island


*cite web | url= | title=Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts | publisher=NASA Earth Observatory | accessdate=2006-05-08

External links

* [ The Buzzards Bay watershed] .
* [ The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program] .
* [ 1906 Bird's Eye View of Buzzards Bay]
* [ The Coalition for Buzzards Bay]
* [ Sailing Buzzards Bay: Photographs]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Buzzards Bay — arm of the Atlantic, on the SE coast of Mass., at the base of Cape Cod peninsula * * * Inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, southeastern Massachusetts, U.S. Connected to Cape Cod Bay by the Cape Cod Canal on the northeast and bordered on the southeast by …   Universalium

  • Buzzards Bay — Buzzards Bay, MA U.S. Census Designated Place in Massachusetts Population (2000): 3549 Housing Units (2000): 1572 Land area (2000): 1.978925 sq. miles (5.125391 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.973072 sq. miles (2.520245 sq. km) Total area (2000):… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Buzzards Bay, MA — U.S. Census Designated Place in Massachusetts Population (2000): 3549 Housing Units (2000): 1572 Land area (2000): 1.978925 sq. miles (5.125391 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.973072 sq. miles (2.520245 sq. km) Total area (2000): 2.951997 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Buzzards Bay — arm of the Atlantic, on the SE coast of Mass., at the base of Cape Cod peninsula …   English World dictionary

  • Buzzards Bay — Karte der Buzzards Bay Die Buzzards Bay ist eine Bucht des Atlantischen Ozeans angrenzend an den US Bundesstaat Massachusetts. Sie ist ungefähr 45 Kilometer lang und zwölf Kilometer breit. Sie ist ein beliebtes Reiseziel für Fischer,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Buzzards Bay — Original name in latin Buzzards Bay Name in other language State code US Continent/City America/New York longitude 41.74538 latitude 70.61809 altitude 3 Population 3859 Date 2011 05 14 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Buzzards Bay — Sp Vanagų įlanka Ap Buzzards Bay L V Atlante, JAV (Masačusetsas) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Buzzards Bay — noun an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Massachusetts • Instance Hypernyms: ↑bay, ↑embayment • Part Holonyms: ↑Atlantic, ↑Atlantic Ocean …   Useful english dictionary

  • Buzzards Bay — geographical name inlet of the Atlantic SE Massachusetts W of Cape Cod …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Buzzards Bay (disambiguation) — Buzzards Bay can refer to: *Buzzards Bay, a bay along the southern edge of Massachusetts. *Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, a village in Bourne, Massachusetts. *Buzzards Bay (horse), the name of the horse that won the 2005 Santa Anita Derby …   Wikipedia

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