Downpours, Runoff Lead to Decline in Chesapeake Bay's Health - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Downpours, Runoff Lead to Decline in Chesapeake Bay's Health

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

BALTIMORE (AP/WBOC)- Scientists say the health of America's largest estuary declined last year due to the effects of record-breaking precipitation.           

Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science gave the Chesapeake Bay an overall grade of 46% for 2018, down from 54% in 2017. All of the indicators factored into the bay's health index declined or stayed flat last year. Its letter grade of "C'' is unchanged.           

Last year's heavy downpours increased runoff sediments and more pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorous washed into the water. The Baltimore area was deluged with 72 inches (183 centimeters) of rain, roughly 175% above normal rates.           

Still, the annual report card released Tuesday stresses that overall trends show the Chesapeake improving significantly over years. Scientists say the bay's long-term health trajectory remains positive.

“While 2018 was a difficult year for Chesapeake health due to high rainfall, we are seeing trends that the bay is still significantly improving over time. This is encouraging because the Bay is showing resilience to climate change,” said Bill Dennison, v ice president for science application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

For more information about the 2018 Chesapeake Bay Report Card including region-specific data, click here

 
User: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science To: link
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