Chesapeake Bay health improving, earns C grade

WASHINGTON – Something’s fishy in the Chesapeake Bay, and that’s good news.

The number of bay anchovies has increased. Environmentalists with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science explain the bay anchovy is an important food source for other fish, like striped bass and bluefish.

In the annual report card from the Center, the health of the bay has improved, going from a D+ rating in 2011 to a C for 2012. Among the good signs, less nitrogen is turning up in the waters of the bay, and the water clarity is improving.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” Bill Dennison with the Center for Environmental Science said in a written statement. “We are seeing progress in our efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels. In addition, water clarity, which had been declining, has leveled out-and may even be reversing course.”

Summer drought conditions last year limited the amount of storm water runoff entering the bay, the center says.

Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Lee had little environmental affect on the bay.

Despite the overall improvement, the health of the Mid Bay region is declining.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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