The Chesapeake Bay is showing encouraging signs of rebounding but is still in critical condition as a result of pollution, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) 2010 State of the Bay Report. The report comes as the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to release its pollution budget designed to reduce pollution and dramatically improve water quality.
“That the Bay is getting better is a huge development, but sadly not the whole story,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “Dead zones, fish kills, and water contact advisories are constant reminders of how far we still must go.”
The numeric index of the Bay’s health jumped three points from 2008 to 2010, with eight of 13 indicators rising. The indicator for the health of the blue crab population spiked 15 points, as the Bay’s population increased significantly last year. Also, underwater grasses showed steady progress over the past four years.
But the overall health index of the Bay is 31 out of 100, which means it is still a system dangerously out of balance.
The report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay's health, evaluating 13 indicators: oysters, shad, crabs, striped bass (rockfish), underwater grasses, wetlands, forested buffers, resource lands, toxics, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and phosphorus and nitrogen pollution. CBF scientists compile and examine the best available historical and up-to-date information for each indicator and assign it an index score and letter grade. Taken together, these indicators offer an assessment of Bay health.
The copy of the full report is available at: www.cbf.org/sotb2010.
source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation