Chesapeake Bay Still Working Toward Improvement After Latest ‘Health Checkup’

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Every two years the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the bay a check-up. The latest results rate the bay’s health index at 34, or a C -.

“A C- is not a great grade, at least my mom never said it was, but we’re getting better. We’re going in the right direction,” says Will Baker, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

That direction shows a climb from dangerously out-of-balance, toward improving, with 70 representing a “saved bay.”

“And we’ve got to keep up the momentum,” says Baker.

But pollution continues to flow down the Susquehanna from Pennsylvania, in the form of animal waste and farm fertilizer.

Other waterways carry similar pollutants off urban streets and lawns, with all of it feeding the algae blooms that become bay dead zones. Oysters also remain far from recovered. On the plus side, the crab population continues to rebound, and with major upgrades to sewage treatment plants, water quality, and clarity have improved in the bay.

The past couple of years the bay has caught a break from the weather. No massive storms means less rain fell, reducing the run-off that carries pollution off the land.

“But it’s not as if we’ve had a number of drought years, so I think the gains are real. I’m an optimist, but I think we’re seeing real systemic improvement,” says Baker.

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