Coastal Bays Report - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Brie Jackson

Environmentalists Release Report Card on Coastal Bays

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, Md.- On Monday, The Maryland Coastal Bays Program released a report card on the health of Maryland and Virginia's Atlantic coastal bays. The grades were given to six coastal bays in Worcester and Accomack counties. The overall grade for the bays was a C+. The Sinepuxent Bay scored the best with a B. The Saint Martin's River and Newport Bay scored the lowest with a D+.

The report looked at factors including sea grass, hard shell clam populations and water quality. They say one of their biggest concerns is the over-harvesting of hard shell clams. Scientists say those shell fish help to filter the bays. Run-off from septic systems, and continued population growth are also to blame for the dwindling health of some bays.

"If we don't fix these problems now we are going to end up like New Jersey and Long Island. In those cases we have over development and very degraded water quality, " said Dr. William Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences.

Scientists say pollution from some farming methods could be stifling sea life. But farmers say they are doing their part to keep the waterways clean.

"If something goes wrong with the ground here it effects our paycheck. So we pay more attention to the environment than most others do, " said farmer John Taylor Jr.

Taylor said farming tools like grass buffers and cover crops help prevent some chemicals from reaching the bays.

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