The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has given the Chesapeake Bay a grade of “C” for 2013. The grade means that despite last year’s increased heat and rainfall, the Bay’s health basically held steady from 2012. The Lower Bay scored the best, getting a B- while the worst scoring was the Patapsco and the Back Rivers, which received an F. The report card grades 15 geographic areas of the Bay using seven indicators. This year’s report card also introduces a “Climate Change Resilience Index” that measures the ability of the Bay to withstand environmental changes based on climate change.
From the UMCES Bay report card website:
Variations in the health of waterways on either side of the Bay indicate that effective stormwater runoff strategies—such as forest buffers cover crops, and upgraded wastewater treatment facilities—can make a difference and should continue to be implemented.
“Nutrient and sediment pollution carried by stormwater are important factors in Chesapeake Bay health,” said Bill Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “Based on patterns in rainfall and report card grades for several reporting regions, we conclude that it is not the rain that affects the report card scores; it is what the rain carries.”