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Track Our Progress

The Chesapeake Bay Program tracks the progress in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We track Bay Health, which provides information about the status of Bay water quality, habitats and lower food web, and fish and shellfish abundance as well as restoration and protection efforts.

What Guides Us

The Chesapeake Bay Program has developed a series of commitments over its history to its Bay restoration and protection efforts. These science-based goals help Bay Program partners track critical health measures and implementation of restoration activities. Goals are updated each year to reflect the previous year’s health status and restoration efforts.

Tracking Tools

Chesapeake Bay Program partners use several tools to track progress toward Bay restoration goals. These tools help Bay Program partners and other stakeholders visualize data to help identify priorities and reveal funding gaps. Learn more about these tools and how they help Bay Program partners lead the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

Indicators A-Z

American Shad Abundance

Shad Abundance (2013) American shad form an important link in the Bay food web. Shad feed on zooplankton and are preyed upon by larger fish, including bluefish, weakfish and striped bass. Historically, local economies flourished from the annual shad run in the spring, when the fishes’ upriver migration begins. But shad populations were decimated in the 1970s by overfishing, pollution, and dams and other blockages that prevent the fish from reaching their upstream spawning grounds. (Read More)


Atlantic Menhaden Abundance

Atlantic menhaden play an important ecological role in the Bay. They are food for top predators such as striped bass. The Chesapeake Bay is an important nursery area supporting juvenile menhaden that will contribute to the overall Atlantic coast adult Atlantic menhaden stock. Atlantic menhaden are managed under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) using a coastwide total allowable catch (TAC) that is allocated among coastal states based on average state landings from 2009 through 2011. An index of abundance is developed from the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) pound net catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) data. This index is currently used by ASMFC as a proxy for relative coastwide abundance, but new indices are being developed through the 2014 benchmark stock assessment that span almost the entire coast. (Read More)


Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management

Atlantic menhaden play an important ecological role in the Bay. They are food for top predators such as striped bass. The Chesapeake Bay is an important nursery area supporting juvenile menhaden that will contribute to the overall Atlantic coast adult Atlantic menhaden stock. Atlantic menhaden are managed under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) using a coastwide total allowable catch (TAC) that is allocated among coastal states based on average state landings from 2009 through 2011.  In order to determine if the coastwide population is overfished, ASMFC uses biological reference points (targets and thresholds) for fishing mortality (F). Fishing mortality is the rate of removal of fish from the population due to fishing, including harvest, discards, and bycatch. (Read More)


Bay Watershed Forest Cover

Forests protect and filter drinking water for 75 percent of the Bay watershed’s residents. They also provide valuable ecological services and economic benefits, including carbon sequestration, flood control, wildlife habitat and forest products. Forests are the most beneficial land use for the Bay. They capture, filter and retain water, thereby reducing pollution and improving water quality. Forests also absorb air pollution and retain up to 85 percent of the airborne nitrogen from sources such as automobiles and power plants. Forested areas reduce erosion, control flooding and provide habitat for wildlife. (Read More)


Blue Crab Abundance (Spawning-Age Females)

Perhaps no species is more closely associated with the Chesapeake Bay than the blue crab. Blue crabs support commercial and recreational fisheries across the region, and are one of the Bay’s hardiest species. But poor water quality, habitat loss, harvest pressure and natural predation can affect their continued health. Blue crab population levels inform how harvest regulations should or shouldn’t change if we are to maintain a sustainable blue crab stock. (Read More)


Blue Crab Fishery Management

The Chesapeake Bay fishing industry holds tremendous commercial, cultural, and historic value. Perhaps no species is more closely associated with the Bay than the blue crab. Blue crabs support commercial and recreational fisheries across the region, but poor water quality, habitat loss, harvest pressure and natural predation can affect their continued health. Blue crab population levels inform how harvest regulations should or shouldn’t change if we are to maintain a sustainable blue crab stock. (Read More)


Bottom Habitat

Benthic Habitat (Index of Biological Integrity) (2012) Annual Average Score by Sampling Station The Bay’s bottom is home to many small creatures such as worms, clams and tiny crustaceans. These creatures, called benthic macroinvertebrates, live on or in the bottom sediments. Benthic macroinvertebrates are especially sensitive to increases in chemical contaminants and decreases in oxygen. Since they cannot move to avoid poor environmental conditions, the health of benthic macroinvertebrates is an excellent indicator of the Bay’s health. The Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity makes a good integrator of long-term environmental conditions because benthic organisms have limited mobility and their responses to stress are well documented. (Read More)


Chemical Contaminants

Chemical Contaminants (2012) Chemical contaminants such as metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be found in the Chesapeake Bay’s fish and bottom sediments. Toxic chemicals can harm the Bay ecosystem and human health. Toxins tend to accumulate in predatory species at the top of the food web. These contaminants have the potential to affect humans who eat contaminated fish. By analyzing the tissues of specific types of fish, scientists can estimate the overall presence of contaminants in the Bay ecosystem. (Read More)


Chesapeake Bay Gateways Designated

For people to deeply value the Bay and the thousands of streams, creeks and rivers that flow into it, they need access to wildlife and the outdoors. Public access areas allow people to enjoy activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, hiking and picnicking. Access to natural areas helps people create a personal connection with the Bay watershed and builds support for restoration efforts. (Read More)


Chesapeake Bay Watershed Population

Population (2010) The way people use the land has a major effect on the Bay and its local waterways. Natural areas like forests and wetlands have a positive effect on the Bay’s health, whereas developed lands generally contribute more pollution. The Chesapeake Bay’s decline is directly linked to the rise in the number of people that live in the watershed. Since 1950, the Bay watershed’s population has more than doubled. (Read More)


Developing Watershed Management Plans

Protecting local watersheds is a complicated and challenging task. Watershed management plans are strategic guides that help local communities protect and restore  streams, forest buffers, wetlands, parks and other natural areas. Watershed plans preserve not only ecological health, but also the quality of life in communities. (Read More)


Dissolved Oxygen (Volume Assessment)

Dissolved Oxygen, Percent Goal Achieved for 2012, 3 YR Analysis Just as is the case for animals on land, oxygen is essential for all aquatic plants and animals to survive. In water, oxygen is present in a dissolved form.  Adequate concentrations of dissolved oxygen in water are necessary for healthy ecosystem function; without the required amounts of oxygen in the water to support healthy ecosystem function, the Bay’s ability to support aquatic life is compromised. The necessary amount of dissolved oxygen varies by aquatic species, season and location within the Bay. Generally, aquatic animals need higher oxygen levels in shallow waters during spring spawning season.  Slightly lower oxygen levels are acceptable during other times of the year, particularly in deeper waters. Concentrations of dissolved oxygen are also an important indication of levels of nutrient pollution in the Bay.  Low dissolved oxygen levels are primarily the (Read More)


Education and Interpretation

Perhaps the best way to foster Bay stewardship is through education, especially for the millions of children who live in the watershed. The long-term health of the environment will depend on their interest and ability to protect nature. Bay Program partners continue to promote environmental education at elementary, middle and high schools, with a focus on providing MWEEs for all students before they graduate. Incorporating MWEEs in formal education is essential to changing people’s stewardship ethic over the long-term. Research has shown that intensive, sustained experiences with nature are very effective at increasing stewardship ethics. Bay Program partners also provide lifelong learning opportunities for citizens of all ages, with information and interpretation at a multitude of locations in the region. (Read More)


Health of Freshwater Streams in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Average 2000-2010 Stream Health in the Chesapeake Bay Sub-watersheds An effective way to measure the health of freshwater streams and rivers is to study the many tiny creatures that live in these waters. The abundance and diversity of snails, mussels, insects and other bottom-dwelling organisms – known as benthic macroinvertebrates – are good indicators of the health of streams because these creatures can’t move very far and they respond in certain predictable ways to pollution and environmental stresses. A healthy Bay watershed would have a majority of streams ranked as fair, good or excellent.  Some generalizations about the health of the watershed’s streams can be made: Streams tend to be in very poor to fair condition around large urban areas, such as metropolitan Washington, D.C. Streams in heavily farmed or mined areas are also often in very poor to fair condition.  These (Read More)


Native Oyster Health

Oysters are a valuable species because they improve water quality, provide habitat for aquatic life and contribute to the region’s economy. Oysters filter water as they feed, which increases water clarity. It is estimated that at their historic population peak, oysters filtered all of the Bay’s water in less than one week. It takes about one year for the current population to do so. Oysters have also constituted one of the Bay’s most valuable commercial fisheries for more than a century. Pollution, historic overharvesting, and the diseases MSX and Dermo have caused the oyster population to decline severely. (Read More)


Nitrogen in Rivers Entering Chesapeake Bay: Long-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends

Long-Term Trend in Flow-Adjusted Total Nitrogen Concentration, 1985-2012 Nitrogen concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from nutrient-reduction actions or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Nitrogen Loads and River Flow to the Bay

Each day, billions of gallons of fresh water flow through thousands of streams and rivers that eventually empty into the Bay. That water also carries polluted runoff from throughout the watershed. The amount of water flowing into the Bay from its tributaries has a direct impact on how much pollution is in the estuary: Generally, as river flow increases, it brings more nutrient and sediment pollution to the Bay. Runoff from winter and spring rains delivers pollution loads that drive summer water quality conditions in the Bay. Years with low or high amounts of precipitation can result in changes to pollution levels in the Bay, but not mean the health of the watershed is improving or declining. Not all rain water runs off the land. Some water seeps into the soil, carrying nutrients into groundwater. The travel time of nutrients (Read More)


Nitrogen Short-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Short-Term Trend in Flow-Adjusted Total Nitrogen Concentration, 2003-2012 Nitrogen concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from nutrient-reduction actions or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Nitrogen Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Total Nitrogen Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers, Mean 2008-2012 Stream quality is associated with lower nutrient loads; therefore, the goal for short-term yields indicator is to observe low nitrogen yields at most monitoring sites in the watershed. (Read More)


Phosphorus in Rivers Entering Chesapeake Bay: Long-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends

Long-Term Trend in Flow-Adjusted Total Phosphorus Concentration, 1985-2012 Phosphorus concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from nutrient-reduction actions or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Phosphorus Loads and River Flow to the Bay

Each day, billions of gallons of fresh water flow through thousands of streams and rivers that eventually empty into the Bay. That water also carries polluted runoff from throughout the watershed. The amount of water flowing into the Bay from its tributaries has a direct impact on how much pollution is in the estuary: Generally, as river flow increases, it brings more nutrient and sediment pollution to the Bay. Runoff from winter and spring rains delivers pollution loads that drive summer water quality conditions in the Bay. Years with low or high amounts of precipitation can result in changes to pollution levels in the Bay, but not mean the health of the watershed is improving or declining. (Read More)


Phosphorus Short-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Short-Term Trend in Flow-Adjusted Total Phosphorus Concentration, 2003-2012 Phosphorus concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from nutrient-reduction actions or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Phosphorus Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Total Phosphorus Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers, Mean 2008-2012 Stream quality is associated with lower nutrient loads; therefore, the goal for short-term yields indicator is to observe low phosphorus yields at most monitoring sites in the watershed. (Read More)


Planting Forest Buffers

Riparian Forest Buffer Restoration (2013) Forest buffers are trees and other plants that line the banks of waterways. Forest buffers are important because they: Provide wildlife habitat Stabilize stream banks from erosion Keep river water cool, which is important for many fish. Well-maintained forest buffers also absorb pollution, which helps improve the health of neighboring streams and rivers as well as the water downstream. Bay Program partners are planting forest buffers along thousands of miles of streams, creeks and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. (Read More)


Planting Underwater Bay Grasses

Bay Grasses Planted (2011) Underwater bay grasses, or SAV, need clean, clear water to grow and naturally expand. For this reason, efforts to reduce water pollution have a positive influence on restoring bay grasses. In addition to reducing pollution, some Bay Program partners collect seeds and plant bay grasses in the Bay and its rivers. These plantings are located in areas without bay grasses but where water quality should support growth. (Read More)


Protected Lands

Protected Lands 2013 Chesapeake Bay Program partners have identified millions of acres of lands with high conservation value. These lands protect water quality, sustain fish and wildlife, maintain working farms and forests, preserve our history, and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. But population growth, development and climate change increase pressure on some of the most valuable lands in the watershed. Land is a finite and fragile resource. For decades, our partners have permanently protected from development lands that have cultural, historical, ecological or agricultural value. Partners have purchased properties, accepted donations, arranged for easements and purchased development rights.  Conserving land relies on public support. Reporting on the status of land protection in the watershed can help generate that support and provide transparency related to these efforts. (Read More)


Public Access

2013 Public Access Open, green spaces and waterways with ample public access bolster public health and quality of life. People rely on these special places to exercise, relax, and recharge their spirits. Outdoor time strengthens family bonds and nurtures fit, creative children. At the same time, it builds personal connections with the very places that have shaped life in the region for centuries—especially its streams, rivers, and bays. Public access to natural areas also has a distinct economic value as tourism, much of which is associated with the area’s waters, and is a potent force in the region. The sense of place that evolves from outdoor experiences along Chesapeake waters often leads to a feeling of shared responsibility for the resources. People who enjoy the outdoors are more likely to become active citizen stewards, engaged in the many conservation (Read More)


Reducing Nitrogen Pollution

The Bay cannot be restored without water that is clean, clear and rich in oxygen. Currently, the Bay and its rivers receive too much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment for the ecosystem to remain healthy. The primary sources of these pollutants are agricultural runoff and discharges, wastewater treatment plant discharges, urban and suburban runoff and septic tank discharges, and air deposition. (Read More)


Reducing Phosphorus Pollution

The Bay cannot be restored without water that is clean, clear and rich in oxygen. Currently, the Bay and its rivers receive too much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment for the ecosystem to remain healthy. The primary sources of these pollutants are agricultural runoff and discharges, wastewater treatment plant discharges, urban and suburban runoff and septic tank discharges, and air deposition. (Read More)


Reducing Sediment Pollution

The Bay cannot be restored without water that is clean, clear and rich in oxygen. Currently, the Bay and its rivers receive too much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment for the ecosystem to remain healthy. The primary sources of these pollutants are agricultural runoff and discharges, wastewater treatment plant discharges, urban and suburban runoff and septic tank discharges, and air deposition. (Read More)


Reopening Fish Passage

Fish Passage Progress (2013) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Dams, culverts and other barriers block migratory fish from reaching their spawning grounds and reduce habitat for local fish in streams, creeks and rivers. These barriers are being removed or new lifts, ladders and passageways are being installed to allow fish to swim upstream. Priority is given to fish passage restoration projects that open large stretches of habitat, remove dams, enhance migratory fish passage, and remove impediments in streams that were previously affected by acid mine drainage. Many of these projects also restore the flow of waterways and reduce sediment accumulation. (Read More)


Restoring Oyster Reefs

Restoring oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay is a primary part of our strategy to increase native oyster populations and the benefits these reefs provide to fish and shellfish. To rebuild reefs, both oyster shell and alternative materials for oysters to settle and grow upon (like granite, fossil shell or crushed concrete) are placed on hard-bottom areas in select tributaries. Hatchery-raised oyster larvae, called spat, are planted on both natural and man-made reefs. Many of these rebuilt reefs are designated as oyster sanctuaries and protected from harvest. Restoring reefs has the potential to increase populations of spawning adult oysters and, in turn, larval production. Oyster reefs also provide important ecosystem services to the Bay, as the reefs offer habitat to invertebrates and fish and filter-feeding oysters improve water quality. (Read More)


Restoring Wetlands on Agricultural Lands

Healthy wetlands are vital to a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Located where land meets water, wetlands trap polluted runoff and slow of the flow of nutrients, sediment and chemical contaminants into rivers, streams and the Bay. By soaking up stormwater and dampening storm surges, wetlands slow the erosion of shorelines and protect properties from floods. Wetlands also provide critical habitat for fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates, and support recreational fishing and hunting across the watershed. Land purchases and conservation easements can protect wetland habitat. The removal of invasive species—like phragmites, purple loosestrife or nutria—can help rehabilitate degraded wetlands. (Read More)


River Flow Into Chesapeake Bay

Each day, billions of gallons of fresh water flow through thousands of streams and rivers that eventually empty into the Bay. That water also carries polluted runoff from throughout the watershed. The amount of water flowing into the Bay from its tributaries has a direct impact on how much pollution is in the estuary: Generally, as river flow increases, it brings more nutrient and sediment pollution to the Bay. Runoff from winter and spring rains delivers pollution loads that drive summer water quality conditions in the Bay. Years with low or high amounts of precipitation can result in changes to pollution levels in the Bay, but not mean the health of the watershed is improving or declining. Not all rain water runs off the land. Some water seeps into the soil, carrying nutrients into groundwater. The travel time of nutrients (Read More)


Sediment in Rivers Entering Chesapeake Bay: Long-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends

Long Term Flow-Adjusted Trends in Sediment, 1985-2012 Sediment concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from erosion and runoff controls or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Sediment Loads and River Flow to the Bay

Each day, billions of gallons of fresh water flow through thousands of streams and rivers that eventually empty into the Bay. That water also carries polluted runoff from throughout the watershed. The amount of water flowing into the Bay from its tributaries has a direct impact on how much pollution is in the estuary: Generally, as river flow increases, it brings more sediment and nutrient pollution to the Bay. Runoff from winter and spring rains delivers pollution loads that drive summer water quality conditions in the Bay. Years with low or high amounts of precipitation can result in changes to pollution levels in the Bay, but not mean the health of the watershed is improving or declining. (Read More)


Sediment Short-Term Flow-Adjusted Concentration Trends Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Short Term Flow-Adjusted Trends in Sediment, 2003-2012 Sediment concentrations are highly variable, depending on the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. Therefore, scientists calculate flow-adjusted trends to determine whether concentrations have changed over time.  By removing the effects of natural variations in streamflow, resource managers can evaluate the changes in stream health that may result from erosion and runoff controls or other changes within the watershed. (Read More)


Sediment Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers

Sediment Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers, Mean 2008-2012 Stream quality is associated with lower sediment loads; therefore, the goal for short-term yields indicator is to observe low sediment yields at most monitoring sites in the watershed. (Read More)


Striped Bass Abundance

The Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery habitat for striped bass on the East Coast. Striped bass support one of the most important commercial and recreational fisheries on the Atlantic seaboard. The striped bass population rebounded from historic lows in the mid-1980s to highs that exceed the population target. Multi-state fishing moratoria in the late 1980s, as well as commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits set in the 1990s, were successful at rebuilding the stock. Scientists are now concerned about the high prevalence of disease (mycobacteriosis) and whether there are enough prey available to adequately support this predatory fish. (Read More)


Striped Bass Fishery Management

The Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery habitat for striped bass on the East Coast. Striped bass support one of the most important commercial and recreational fisheries on the Atlantic seaboard. The striped bass population rebounded from historic lows in the mid-1980s to highs that exceed the population target. Multi-state fishing moratoria in the late 1980s, as well as commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits set in the 1990s, were successful at rebuilding the stock.  In order to determine if the coastwide population is overfished, ASMFC uses reference points (targets and thresholds) for fishing mortality (F). Fishing mortality is the rate of removal of fish from the population due to fishing, including harvest, discards, and bycatch. (Read More)


Striped Bass Juvenile Abundance Index

The Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery habitat for striped bass on the East Coast. Striped bass support one of the most important commercial and recreational fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and on the Atlantic seaboard. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) conduct annual juvenile striped bass seine surveys to monitor the relative recruitment success for young-of-the-year (YOY) striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. Annual abundance indices for both Maryland and Virginia are developed from these surveys to document the annual variation in year-classes and to help evaluate the health of the striped bass stock. YOY abundance estimates can also be an early indicator of future adult fish abundance available for the commercial and recreational fishing industries. (Read More)


Tidal Wetlands Abundance

In addition to being places of tremendous beauty, wetlands connect the land to the water. Throughout the Chesapeake Bay, these areas of transition provide unique habitats for a rich diversity of land animals and aquatic life. Wetlands also act as sponges and natural filters by absorbing runoff and removing pollution from water before it enters streams, creeks, rivers and the Bay. But the Chesapeake’s wetlands are fragile and threatened by shoreline development, sea level rise and invasive species. Learn more about wetlands and wetlands restoration. (Read More)


Underwater Bay Grass Abundance (Baywide)

Bay Grasses (SAV) Restoration Goal Achievement: Single Best Year 2011-2013 Underwater grasses provide significant benefits to aquatic life and serve many critical ecological functions in the Bay and its tributaries, such as: Providing shelter for young striped bass, blue crabs and other species Improving water clarity by helping suspended sediment particles settle to the bottom Adding oxygen to the water Reducing shoreline erosion Scientists believe that having more grasses in the Bay and rivers will dramatically improve the entire ecosystem. The expectation is that as nutrient and sediment pollution decrease and water clarity improves, underwater grass acreages should expand. Experts closely monitor underwater grasses because their well-being is dependent on good local water quality.  Therefore, their abundance is an excellent measure of the Bay’s health. (Read More)


Underwater Bay Grass Abundance in Four Salinity Zones

SAV Salinity Zones Underwater grasses provide significant benefits to aquatic life and serve many critical ecological functions in the Bay and its tributaries, such as: Providing shelter for young striped bass, blue crabs and other species Improving water clarity by helping suspended sediment particles settle to the bottom Adding oxygen to the water Reducing shoreline erosion Scientists believe that having more grasses in the Bay and rivers will dramatically improve the entire ecosystem. The expectation is that as nutrient and sediment pollution decrease and water clarity improves, underwater grass acreages should expand. Experts closely monitor underwater grasses because their well-being is dependent on good local water quality.  Therefore, their abundance is an excellent measure of the Bay’s health. (Read More)


Underwater Bay Grass Density

Underwater grasses provide significant benefits to aquatic life and serve many critical ecological functions in the Bay and its tributaries, such as: Providing shelter for young striped bass, blue crabs and other species Improving water clarity by helping suspended sediment particles settle to the bottom Adding oxygen to the water Reducing shoreline erosion Scientists believe that having more grasses in the Bay and rivers will dramatically improve the entire ecosystem. The expectation is that as nutrient and sediment pollution decrease and water clarity improves, underwater grass acreages should expand. Experts closely monitor underwater grasses because their well-being is dependent on good local water quality.  Therefore, their abundance is an excellent measure of the Bay’s health.. (Read More)


Wastewater

The Bay cannot be restored without water that is clean, clear and rich in oxygen. Currently, the Bay and its rivers receive too much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment for the ecosystem to remain healthy. Wastewater treatment plant discharges are one of the primary sources of these pollutants. (Read More)


Water Quality Standards Achievement

Chesapeake Bay Waters Meeting WQ Goals for Open Water, Deep Water, and Deep Channel Uses 2010-2012 This indicator measures progress towards the achievement of water quality standards for dissolved oxygen, water clarity/underwater bay grasses and chlorophyll a for each 3-year assessment period beginning in 1985.  The indicator is fully consistent with how Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia currently list their portion of the Bay’s tidal waters, and provides a means for illustrating improvements through time. Additionally, this indicator is being used to measure progress toward the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Strategy’s water quality outcome. (Read More)


Water Quality Standards Achievement for Chlorophyll a

Chesapeake Bay Waters Meeting Chlorophyll a Criteria Water Quality Goals 2010-2012 This indicator measures progress towards the achievement of water quality standards for chlorophyll a for each 3-year assessment period beginning in 1985.  The indicator is fully consistent with how Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia currently list their portion of the Bay’s tidal waters, and provides a means for illustrating improvements through time. (Read More)


Water Quality Standards Achievement for Dissolved Oxygen (Surface Area Assessment)

Chesapeake Bay Waters Meeting WQ Goals for Open Water, Deep Water, and Deep Channel Uses 2010-2012 This indicator measures progress towards the achievement of water quality standards for dissolved oxygen for each 3-year assessment period beginning in 1985.  The indicator is fully consistent with how Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia currently list their portion of the Bay’s tidal waters, and provides a means for illustrating improvements through time. (Read More)


Water Quality Standards Achievement for Water Clarity/Underwater Bay Grasses

Chesapeake Bay Waters Meeting WQ Goals for the Shallow Water Bay Grasses Designated Use 2010-2012 This indicator measures progress towards the achievement of water quality standards for water clarity/underwater bay grasses for each 3-year assessment period beginning in 1985.  The indicator is fully consistent with how Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia currently list their portion of the Bay’s tidal waters, and provides a means for illustrating improvements through time. (Read More)


Water Trails in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

For people to deeply value the Bay and the thousands of streams, creeks and rivers that flow into it, they need access to wildlife and the outdoors. Public access areas allow people to enjoy activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, hiking and picnicking. Access to natural areas helps people create a personal connection with the Bay watershed and builds support for restoration efforts. (Read More)


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