There are places in the Chesapeake Bay where you still don’t want to swim, but overall, water quality is improving.
The Chesapeake Bay Health Index for 2015 was 53%. But hey, that’s the highest “C” since scoring began in 2006.
This tweet is from marine scientist Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, who works on climate change and Chesapeake and Gulf restoration:
When were you happy to get a C report card? Last year for #chesbay that is welcome news. @ssdance
— Don Boesch (@DonBoesch) May 18, 2016
Last year, the Bay scored 50% in water clarity, oxygen levels, aquatic grasses, fish habitat, and such. None of the areas tested went down this year, but some improved. And, according to the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, that’s a good thing.
“We’d expect to see improvements after a drought year because nutrients aren’t being washed into the Bay, fueling algae blooms and poor water quality,” said Bill Dennison, Vice President for Science Applications at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
“However, in 2015 streamflow was below normal, but nowhere near the drought conditions in 1992 and 2002. Thus, the high score for 2015 indicates that we’re making progress reducing what’s coming off the land.”
Improvements were seen in the Choptank River, Upper Eastern Shore, Lower Western Shore, and the Rappahannock River.
You still don’t want to swim in the Patapsco and Back River, or the Baltimore Harbor and Patuxent River. The lower York River and Elizabeth River are a bit iffy.
Striped bass, bay anchovy, and blue crab have all increased, according to the Chesapeake Bay Report Card.
Grades over the years: