The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) just released its 2016 State of the Bay report with news that the Bay is improving. CBF reports that this year’s score is the highest since the first State of the Bay was published 18 years ago. Each of the three indicator categories -pollution, habitat, and fisheries- have improved to give the Bay an overall grade of a C- (up from the last score of a D+).
In the chart below, the three categories are compared against the last State of the Bay report published by CBF in 2014.
Four of the five pollution indicators improved (nitrogen, phosphorous, dissolved oxygen, and water clarity) while toxins held steady.
In the habitat category, reductions in pollution resulted in greater abundance of underwater grasses. However, the score for forested buffers declined for the first time since the report has been published. Overall improvement to Bay habitat continues to be slow.
All four fisheries showed positive signs for improvement, but none more so than blue crabs which increased by 10 points.
CBF concludes that while the Bay is improving, it is still far from saved. We need to keep pushing for progress and keep following the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, which was established in 2010. For more detailed analysis on each of these points, click to cbf.org/stateofthebay.