Study shows health of Chesapeake Bay improves

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 3, 2013 4:04 AM
Susquehanna River

(Harrisburg) -- The health of the Chesapeake Bay improved slightly in 2012.

A new report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the bay an overall score of 32 out of 100, up one point over the last report in 2010 and four points since 2008.

Out of 13 bay health indicators such as oysters, crabs, wetlands and phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, the study shows five improved, seven stayed the same and only one declined.

Harry Campbell, a senior scientist in the foundation's Pennsylvania office,
says some of the success can be credited to the restoration of forested buffers that help prevent nutrient and sediment pollution.

"We've actually facilitated the implementation of (more than) 2,400 miles of those types of forests in Pennsylvania," he says. "They're one of the best practices that we have to improve local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay."

But, Campbell says more work needs to be done in Pennsylania to reduce pollution and improve the water quality of its streams and rivers.

He cites the Susquehanna River, the bay's largest tributary, as an example, since it provides half the fresh water to the bay.

"What we do to the rivers and streams in our own backyard and the Susquehanna River reflects back to us in the health and condition of the Chesapeake Bay," Campbell says.

Underwater grasses were the only indicator that worsened in 2012.

Among the group's priorities for Pennsylvania in 20-13 are helping local governments achieve clean water goals in line with the bay's Clean Water Blueprint and assisting farmers in reducing agricultural pollution.


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