Colonists, who first settled the area in 1621, named Buzzards Bay after a large native bird, most likely an osprey, which still breed along its shores today.
Buzzards Bay is approximately 28 miles long, 8 miles wide, and covers nearly 310 miles of coastline, and is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and tourism and home to several endangered species.
The Bay is also major transit route for small oil tankers and barge traffic transporting heating and industrial oil and gasoline to Boston and northern New England.
Nearly 1.6 billion gallons of oil are estimated to pass through the narrow canal connecting Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay each year.
Buzzards Bay was designated "an estuary of national significance" which is "threatened by pollution, land development, or overuse" in 1989. One of the largest threats comes from marine oil spills. The bay has been impacted by at least 16 major marine oil spills between 1963 and 2013, according to the Buzzard Bay National Estuary Program.