Update on Health of Chesapeake Bay: Fragile
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The condition of Chesapeake Bay is still very fragile, according to a new report just released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
This year the bay comes in with an overall score of D-plus, the same grade as the last report in 2012. Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says the report does offer some good news in spite of the poor letter grade.
"Most exciting are the elements of the report we care the most about," says Baker. "Dissolved oxygen, oysters, underwater grasses, and water clarity are all going up."
On the other hand, Baker says the health of rockfish and the bay's iconic blue crab populations have declined.
"In terms of the blue crab, scientists aren't sure what's going on," he says. "It may be climate change, maybe there's a new virus, maybe it's simply a natural variation."
Baker also points out that despite the fact no part of Pennsylvania physically touches Chesapeake Bay, the commonwealth's watersheds play a significant role in the bay's overall health.
"Half of all of Pennsylvania is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed," he says. "So all of the rivers and creeks in the central part of Pennsylvania are part of the watershed, and creating cleaner water quality conditions in Pennsylvania will benefit water quality downstream."
Baker says a restored watershed will provide billions of dollars in benefits, including $40 billion a year in Pennsylvania, in the form of cleaner water, cleaner air, hurricane and flood protection, recreational opportunities and fresh, healthy food and seafood.
"Agriculture has a big role to play," he says. "One of the best ways to reduce agricultural pollution is to plant forested buffers. That is extremely valuable for the quality of local creeks and rivers."
According to the report, Pennsylvania currently plants six acres per day of such buffers, but needs to plant 50 acres a day to fully protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
get more stories like this via email
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …
SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…
CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …