On May 8, 2017, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science released its annual “Chesapeake Bay Report Card” on the status of biology and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, showing that conditions in 2016 were better than they had been in most years since 1986. This year’s report had an overall “grade” of 54%, rated a C (“moderately healthy”), compared to 53% for 2015 data, 50% for 2014 data, and 45% for 2013 data.
The Center analyzes data on five chemical or physical indicators and five biological indicators, assessing how close (on a percentage basis) the indicators are to reaching a set of established goals, in response to pollution-reducing and habitat-improving actions. The indicators are as follows: dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorophyll, water clarity, aquatic “grasses” (submerged aquatic plants), benthic (bottom-dwelling) community, Blue Crabs, Bay anchovy, and Striped Bass. Only the first seven are included in the Overall Health Index; the data on Blue Crabs, Bay anchovy, and Striped Bass are not part of the overall score. From 2015 to 2016, scores improved or remained steady for all but two of the indicators, nitrogen and the benthic community.
An image showing the grades and trends for 15 Bay regions is shown below.
Graph of the report card scores and trends in data from 2016 in 15 Chesapeake Bay regions. Image from Chesapeake Bay Report Card Shows Steady Recovery, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science News Release, 5/8/17.
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, “Chesapeake Bay Report Card,” online at http://ecoreportcard.org/report-cards/chesapeake-bay/ (as of 5/31/17).
Chesapeake Bay Report Card Shows Steady Recovery, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science News Release, 5/8/17, online at http://www.umces.edu/news/chesapeake-bay-report-card-shows-steady-recovery (as of 5/31/17).
For Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts previous University of Maryland Bay report cards and on other reports of Chesapeake Bay conditions, please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Bay+Report+Card.
For an audio take on another Bay “report card”—the Chesapeake Bay Program’s “Bay Barometer”—have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 305 (2-29-16) (3 min./49 sec.).