New report: MD Coastal Bays’ health improving

BERLIN, Md. – The Maryland Coastal Bays have reached quite the milestone. Based on the latest report, our waters are the healthiest they’ve ever been.

It’s a grade that shows both progress and some room for improvement.

“Trying to improve water quality, that’s a battle anywhere you go. Around here we get rain events, there’s always going to be run off from agricultural fields, from parking lots,” explains Billy Weiland, of Assateague Coastal Trust.

That’s why it’s been challenging to see improvements in Maryland’s Coastal Bays. But after years of initiatives and programs aimed at cleaning the bays, overall it’s now the healthiest it’s ever been.

“We finally made it to a B-, typically the last few years we’ve either been a C-, a C or a C+,” Sandi Smith of MD Coastal Bays Programs continues, “Chincoteague is our largest bay out of our five coastal bays and this year marks the first year that it appears to have healthy improvements.”

Overall, we’re seeing increases in both seagrass and clam populations, but while the overall health of the bays is improving, not every area is seeing good results.

“One of the areas that we’ve seen some issues are some of those areas that aren’t getting filtered like up towards Ocean Pines. White Horse Park area where dissolved oxygen levels are a lot lower than what we expected,” says Weiland.

So there’s still a lot to be done, but those dedicated to bettering our water quality are hoping the positive trend will continue.

Smith adds, “If you look out at our waterways it’s just spectacular out there and the diversity of wildlife is amazing, but we take it for granted.”

“If people are aware of their water quality, they are going to be more inclined to be engaged in citizen advocacy and working towards always improving the quality of our coastal bays in our watershed,” explains Weiland.

To see the full report card you can visit MD Coastal Bays website. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland