Chesapeake Bay's health slowly improving

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 19, 2015 4:45 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The Chesapeake Bay is cleaner, but fisheries are suffering, according to a bienniel report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"Now, when I came home with a D plus on my report, my mother wasn't very happy, so we're not happy about the score, but we're glad to see that it's going in the right direction," says Foundation President Will Baker, as he announced the grade, equivalent to a 32 on the Foundations 0-100 scale.

Make no mistake, says Baker, the Bay is getting better.

But its blue crab population dropped to less than half its 2012 level, and the group is planning to lower catch limits on rockfish because of a ten-year decline.

The Susquehanna River is the Bay's largest tributary, and the report notes the importance of upstream conservation efforts, like forest buffers and runoff controls.

Baker says politicians control the future of the Bay.

"It will take leadership, making tough decisions, and putting the rights of the majority ahead of those who are seeking short-term profit gain by the minority."

The foundation used 13 different metrics to reach the final score.

By 2017, more than half of the programs targeted at getting the Bay clean will be in place, in the hopes of getting an A grade on the report by the mid 2020s.

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