2018 rain spells trouble for health of Chesapeake Bay

EASTON, Md. – “It’s concerning that we’ve seen so much rainfall and that that has had an impact on the bay’s health,” explains Alan Girard, Eastern Shore Director for Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

2018 proved to be a tough year for the Chesapeake Bay.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s State of the Bay Report released Monday showing just how bad it was.

Girard adds, “The Bay really experienced an assault of nitrogen, phosphorus, debris coming from Pennsylvania and parts of the watershed and so for this year’s State of the Bay Report, we declined the score.”

The D+ score reveals areas that need some improvement, like forest conservation and increased oyster populations.

“The science shows that when we restore our upland habitat, make sure the oyster population is healthy and bring back trees and forests and wetlands, those are the type of investments that will make sure that even in a wet year, we will continue to recover.”

But the low score is also showing environmentalists that the bay is experiencing some resiliency when it comes to Mother Nature with record numbers of underwater grasses and fewer dead zones.

“Low oxygen dead zones in the Bay overtime are shrinking and that is a good sign that the investments we’re making and clean water are making a difference,” adds Girard.

And while a report like this shows both progress and regression, local groups like the Wicomico Environmental Trust (WET) say it’s a good indicator on where to focus their local efforts to help clean up the bay.

“It would be far worse if we weren’t cutting down on the lawn fertilizers, sweeping the streets in Salisbury, trying to cut down on the trash we’re throwing around, educating people about what we can do to make the water better,” explains John Groutt, a board member with WET.

To further focus on those problem areas, local conservation groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Wicomico Environmental Trust are meeting with legislators this week to hash out their goals for the upcoming legislative session.

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