Monday, April 13, 2009

Chesapeake Bay scores a C minus on water quality

Environment News Service: Water quality in the Chesapeake Bay in 2008 earned a C-minus on the annual Chesapeake Bay Health Report Card issued each April by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Water clarity was consistently poor throughout the estuary, reaching target levels at a frequency of zero to four percent.

Water quality in the nation's largest estuary received the same grade in the 2007 UMCES assessment, yet, scientists are intrigued by new long-term trends showing that improving areas continue to get better while degrading areas continue to get worse. "These diverging positive and negative trajectories in some of the Bay's key areas show there are important ecological feedbacks that come into play once restoration efforts reach a certain level," said UMCES researcher and project leader Dr. Bill Dennison.

Grades were calculated based on dissolved oxygen, water quality and examinations of the health of algae, aquatic grasses and floor-dwelling organisms. While the bay's overall health earned a C-minus, the health of the 15 individual sections of the bay and its rivers assessed in the report card ranged from a B-minus for the tributaries of the upper western shore of Maryland to an F for the tributaries on the lower western shore….

Chesapeake Bay bridges shot by Benjamin Graves from Sasebo, Japan, upload by Herrick, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License 

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