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Report Card: Chesapeake Bay Health Grade Drops To C-Minus

May 19th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The health of the nation’s largest estuary dropped from a C to a C-minus last year in an annual report card released Tuesday on the Chesapeake Bay.

That is the lowest score and first C-minus since 2011. While several indicators of the bay’s health improved last year, the report found that they did not offset those that declined.

“Moderate and poor scores in 2019 were mainly due to above-average temperatures almost every month of the year,” the report by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science said.

The heat hurt aquatic grasses and small bottom-dwelling aquatic life and lowered dissolved oxygen levels, the report said.

“Precipitation was not above normal for the region as a whole, but extreme and severe periods of rain caused pollution from run-off,” the report said. “There were also possibly lingering effects from the record rainfalls in 2018 that stressed the bay and watershed.”

It was the second year in a row the bay’s health dropped in the report. However, the report noted that all long-term trends for bay health are either steady or positively increasing.

For the first time in its 14-year history, the report also scored the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which received a B-minus grade.

“The Chesapeake is resilient and while the health score fell due to the intense rainfall and elevated temperatures, we are seeing trends that bay health is still improving over time,” said Bill Dennison, vice president for science application at UMCES. “We were very encouraged to see many regions in the bay significantly improving.”

For the first time, UMCES incorporated socioeconomic indicators in its report card in addition to ecological indicators. The report used measures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate how able a community is to respond and bounce back from hazardous events like tornadoes or disease outbreak. The measures include data on household composition, disability, minority status and language and housing and transportation.

Since 2014, all regions have been improving or remaining steady, the report said, and seven out of 15 regions showed significantly improving health trends.

Fish populations received an A grade, showing an improvement from 2018. Blue crab numbers rebounded in 2019, as did the bay anchovy population — showing that fish populations are resilient to stress, the report said.

“The bay is proving to be resilient in the face of climate change due to actions that have already been implemented, but we must redouble our collective efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the bay,” said Peter Goodwin, the president of UMCES and a member of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

The annual report was released a day after officials in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to require Pennsylvania and New York to develop plans to achieve 2025 restoration goals as stipulated in an agreement by states in the bay’s watershed. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the claim has no merit.

6 Responses to “Report Card: Chesapeake Bay Health Grade Drops To C-Minus”

  1. May 19, 2020 at 4:32 pm, mac said:

    And this happens after all of the money I contributed with the annual flush tax.
    Thanks Trump!

    Reply

    • May 20, 2020 at 10:06 am, John T Hare said:

      > Has nothing to do with Trump. Has to do with the waste being dumped in from the Western Shore of the Bay, Baltimore is a huge culprit, and all the crap flowing down from Pennsylvania. Not a federal problem, it’s a state problem and has been for a very long time!

      Reply

  2. May 19, 2020 at 5:08 pm, jackblack said:

    Mac,I do believe you are an upside down liberal.You need to get a REALITY CHECK,and realize,99.95 of liberals are NON-patriotic,against the principles of our founding fathers,I do believe I’ll remove the mask, Socialist Commies.The Biden’s—SCUMBAGS—every last one of em’.

    Reply

    • May 19, 2020 at 10:58 pm, Jay said:

      Jack, stop watching Ingraham and Hannity and stop listening to Rush, Michael Savage, and Alex Jones. Read something by reputable investigative reporters once in a while.

      Reply

      • May 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm, mac said:

        > jackblack, if I’m not mistaken EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler works for Donald Trump.
        So, thanks TRUMP!

        Reply

  3. May 19, 2020 at 9:12 pm, Paola Primavera said:

    Gotta say Mac, I don’t think you paid very much in Flush Tax, as you have been and still are Full of Crap. I read this three times and do believe you haven’t flushed much in your life.

    Reply

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