Some Bay Rivers' Grades Climb Despite Low Chesapeake Score
Magothy, Severn and South river conditions this year improved to a D—still, hardly a grade to make a parent smile.
The Chesapeake Bay's grade went down from a C minus to a D plus, the second-lowest it's been since 1986. But not everything is looking down.
The region of the Bay that includes the Severn and Magothy rivers got higher grades than last year on the Chesapeake Bay report card, which gauges the health of the waterway.
The report card is given annually after lengthy assessments by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Bill Dennison, a scientist with UMCES, led the report card's press conference on Tuesday at Baltimore Harbor. His remarks are from the UMCES transcript of the event.
"This is obviously not good news for Chesapeake Bay and it occurs in spite of some very positive efforts in terms of restoration efforts," Dennison said. "The only two regions to show slight improvements were the Patapsco and Back Rivers and the rivers just to the south of here in Anne Arundel County."
Despite the overall dip in scores, the region of the Chesapeake Bay called the Lower Western Shore, which includes the Magothy, South and Severn rivers, was given higher marks this year than last year. River conditions improved to warrant a D minus—still, hardly a grade to make a parent smile.
The improved score is a result of increased activity in microscopic algae called phytoplankton and worms and other sea creatures categorized as the benthic community. These signs generally indicate healthier water, according to a release.
These areas of the Bay are healthier now than they have been in seven years, according to data within the report card, but they could still use some improvement.