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"C" is for Chesapeake

PHOTO: The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is raising the grade for the Chesapeake Bay's overall health. Photo credit: UMCES
PHOTO: The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is raising the grade for the Chesapeake Bay's overall health. Photo credit: UMCES
July 8, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - "C" is for Chesapeake. After a dismal "D-plus" rating for overall health in 2011, according to scientists, the Chesapeake Bay is getting cleaner and healthier, enough so to have earned a "C" grade for 2012.

Dr. Bill Dennison, vice president for science applications with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, said nutrient-reduction plans in the Bay watershed seem to be working.

"Water clarity and chloroform in particular, two of our key indicators, seem to be not degrading the way they have been in the past," he said. "So, we're cautiously optimistic about this turn of events."

Dennison said last summer's drought also reduced the flow of pollutants into the bay, adding that the Lower Bay seems to be the healthiest, earning a "B-minus," while the Patapsco and Back Rivers received an "F."

Dennison said he spent time on the Bay over the Fourth of July holiday, and there are plenty of fish to catch these days.

"The striped bass are doing well, and the crabs seem to be holding their own," he said. "So, we're feeling good about that. Now, oysters have a longer way to come, to be recovered."

The Center for Environmental Science has created an interactive map to check the health of your region of the Bay, through its website MCES.edu.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD