State of Chesapeake Bay Report for 2016 Conditions Released 1/5/17 by Chesapeake Bay Foundation

On January 5, 2017, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) released its annual “State of the Bay Report,” for conditions in 2016, the Foundation’s first such report since 2014.  For 2016, CBF gave the Bay an overall index score of 34, which the organization rates as a “C-.”

In each report, CBF rates 13 biological and chemical measurements from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better conditions and 100 intended to represent conditions as described by European settler Captain John Smith in the early 1600s.  The report then averages the scores to give an overall Bay score.

The overall score of 34 for 2016 was a two-point increase over the 2014 score and a six-point increase since 2008.  The overall increase in 2016 was due to increased scores for nine of the 13 indicators, including an increase the Blue Crab populations score from 45 to 55 and an increase in the dissolved oxygen score from 19 to 25.  Despite the increases, however, the ratings for the following measures continue to be considered by CBF as poor (getting a “grade” of D or below): nitrogen, oysters, phosphorus, resource lands, shad, submerged aquatic vegetation (“underwater grasses”), toxics, and water clarity.  The scores for Blue Crabs, forested buffers, Rockfish (Striped Bass), and wetlands were all considered fair or better.

The table below compares scores for 2016 and several previous five reports.  The CBF report (see p. 9) asserts that the 2016 overall average score of 34 represents an “improving” but “far from saved” Bay; CBF’s “About the State of the Bay Report” Web page characterizes a score of 70 as “saved,” and the organization sets that score as an “achievable” goal by 2050.

The 2016 “State of the Bay” report is available online at http://www.cbf.org/about-the-bay/state-of-the-bay-report-2016; or contact CBF’s Virginia office at (804) 780-1392.

For a previous News Grouper post on the annual CBF reports, please see the following link: Report for 2012 (posted 1/3/13).

Additional Sources (besides the report):
Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Blueprint Progress Drives Improved Bay Health; CBF State of the Bay Score Up Two Points, News Release, 1/5/17; and “About CBF’s State of the Bay  Report,” online at http://www.cbf.org/about-the-bay/state-of-the-bay-report-2016/about-the-sotb.

Here are several news accounts on the report for 2016:
Chesapeake Bay: Still Troubled but Improving, Bacon’s Rebellion, 1/5/17.
Bay foundation gives Chesapeake health a C-minus, its highest mark since 1998, Baltimore Sun/Capital Gazette, 1/5/17.
Chesapeake Bay health scores C- in new report, [Newport News] Daily Press, 1/5/17.
Report: Chesapeake Bay’s health is improving, but work remains, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/5/17.

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
Blue Crabs 38 38 36 35 50 55 45 55
Dissolved Oxygen 12 16 16 14 19 25 37 40
Forested Buffers 55 56 56 56 58 58 58 57
Nitrogen 13 17 17 17 16 16 16 17
Oysters 3 4 4 4 5 6 8 10
Phosphorus 20 29 23 23 23 27 25 28
Resource Lands 29 29 29 30 31 32 32 32
Rockfish (Striped Bass) 71 71 71 70 69 69 64 66
Shad 12 10 10 9 9 9 9 11
Underwater Grasses (submerged aquatic vegetation) 20 18 18 20 22 20 22 24
Toxics 27 27 27 27 28 28 28 28
Water Clarity 15 15 14 14 16 16 18 20
Wetlands 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42
AVERAGE 27 29 28 28 31 32 32 34

 

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