The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) biennial State of the Bay report is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that the overall pollution score improved, but that improvement was offset by declines in fisheries.
The 2014 State of the Bay Report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay's health. CBF scientists compile and examine the best available historical and up-to-date information for 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries. CBF scientists assign each indicator an index score between 1 and 100. Taken together, these indicators offer an assessment of Bay health.
The 2014 report score is 32, a D+, unchanged from the 2012 score. The report notes improvements in dissolved oxygen, water clarity, oysters, and underwater grasses. Nitrogen, toxics, shad, resource lands, forested buffers, and wetlands were unchanged. Declines were seen in scores for phosphorus, and rockfish, and blue crabs.
This year’s score is still far short of the goal of 70, which would represent a saved Bay. The unspoiled Bay ecosystem described by Captain John Smith in the 1600s, with its extensive forests and wetlands, clear water, abundant fish and oysters, and lush growths of submerged vegetation serves as the benchmark, and would rate a 100 on CBF's scale.
To read the full report, visit: http://www.cbf.org/stateofthebay