Maryland

The Latest: Chesapeake Bay report card sees improvements

BALTIMORE - The overall health of the Chesapeake Bay improved some last year, but an annual report card for the nation's largest estuary says there is still a long way to go.

Scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on Monday gave the bay an overall score of 54 percent in the 2016 Chesapeake Bay Health Index. That's compared to 53 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2014. They are giving the bay's health a "C'' grade overall.

Striped bass led the way in lifting the grade with a perfect score, followed by blue crabs and bay anchovies. All received A grades.

The report found most of the indicators factored into the Chesapeake Bay health index remained steady last year. The total area of the bay covered by aquatic grasses increased. That's one of the bay's most important habitats, providing a home for important species including blue crabs and striped bass.

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The Chesapeake Bay's 2016 report card is being released.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is releasing its 11th annual report on the health of the nation's largest estuary on Monday in Baltimore.

Sen. Ben Cardin is scheduled to attend a news conference at Baltimore's Inner Harbor to discuss the report.

Ben Grumbles, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, and Mark Belton, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, also are scheduled to attend.

Nick DiPasquale, director of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program, also is scheduled to attend.


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