Chesapeake Bay Report Card Shows Improvements - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chesapeake Bay Report Card Shows Improvements

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ANNAPOLIS, Md.-   It's hard to make an impact on the 4,479-square-mile body of water that is the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton says this year's report card on the bay's health shows that the change is real.

"You saw the report card. I've got to say, my parents would be particularly pleased if I were to bring that report card home. It really shows improvement in the bay over the past few years," said Belton.
The bay scored a "C" overall, and no declines in quality were seen in the bay or its tributaries.

"These improvements can be attributed to improved water clarity, the grasses are expanding. There is lower turbidity in the water and the nutrients can be sequestered more efficiently," said Dr. Bill Dennison with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The report card has been given out for 10 years now. If you were to open the 2006 report card, you can see a lot of red, a lot of orange, a lot of yellow. Not the best report card in the world, but things have changed, and now the watermen are saying they can see the difference too.

"You see some. They are small and they take time, nothing happens overnight. We are seeing a little better oysters, and the white clams are coming back. And it looks like there are some bay grasses coming along," said Cambridge waterman Norman Schuyler.

Jack Brooks works with many watermen, and is happy to see the results.
"The watermen, we all are environmentalists so to speak, because we have to have a healthy bay for this industry to survive. Without that, that would be a lot of jobs lost and ways of life lost here on rural Chesapeake," said Brooks.

The goal now is to turn that C into a much better grade.
Read the full report here.
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