Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Program Annual Report: More Bad News for the Bay

Chesapeake Bay Program Annual Report: More Bad News for the Bay

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program latest Bay Barometer has given the Bay's health a score of 38 percent out of 100 percent in terms of the estuary's recover.

According to the report, despite increased restoration efforts, water quality in the Bay is still poor, habitats continue to be degraded and populations of several key fish and shellfish species, including blue crabs, oysters and shad, remain low.

However, there was some good news. The Chesapeake Bay Program exceeded its goal for land preservation, with 7.3 million acres permanently protected from development. Underwater grasses, which provide shelter for aquatic life, improve water clarity, increase oxygen and reduce shoreline erosion, grew by 18 percent, and now total 76,861 acres.

Most of the problems of the Bay can be attributed to excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the water, according to the report, which said that the main sources of these pollutants are agriculture, urban and suburban runoff, sewage treatment plants, and air pollution.

The complete Bay Barometer report is available online.

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