ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP/WJZ) — A new report says that underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay has declined by nearly 40 percent.

The Chesapeake Bay Program released a report last week that said a factor in the decline could be attributed to more water flowing from rivers into the Bay following record rainfalls.

Underwater grasses are a key indicator of the Bay’s health and help to protect wildlife such as crabs. The increase in fresh water can reduce clarity in the Bay and block sunlight from reaching the underwater grasses.

Brooke Landry is a natural resource biologist at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

“We just want [the Bay] to be as healthy as possible for our future generations,” Landry said.

The report found that there were may have been as much as 108,000 acres of underwater grasses in 2018. But last year there was an estimated 66,000 acres.

“Underwater grasses are really important to the eco system as a whole,” Landry added.

Landry said in a statement that underwater grasses have actually been building resilience since efforts have been put in place to reduce pollution from flowing into the Bay.

But she said “there’s still much more work to do in order to mitigate unpredictable impacts from climate change.”

If you would like to learn more about the underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay, please click here.

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Stetson Miller

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