A recent survey of submerged aquatic vegetation has given a good sign of the Chesapeake Bay’s move toward stronger water quality.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported today that underwater grass abundance – a key indicator of water quality– in the state’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay increased 29 percent between 2014 and 2015, reaching a new record of 53,277 acres. This puts Maryland at nearly 94 percent of its 2017 restoration goal of 57,000 acres.
In Maryland, five bay rivers surpassed their restoration goals last year. These included the upper and middle Chester River, the Elk River, the Bush River, Fishing Bay, and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Additionally, several rivers witnessed record grass growth, including the upper Chester River, the middle Choptank River, the Big Annemessex River, the Manokin River, Tangier Sound and Middle River.
“The record resilience and resurgence of underwater grasses indicate that Maryland is making progress on Chesapeake Bay restoration and improving water quality in the watershed.” Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “These grasses are essential to a healthy ecosystem; they absorb and filter out nutrients and sediment, reduce shoreline erosion, provide protection for species like the blue crab and largemouth bass, and support and sustain migrating waterfowl.”