RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay is the best it’s been in decades, and native rockfish, oyster and blue crab populations are rebounding as the overall health of the nation’s largest estuary improves, a report released Thursday found.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s biennial State of the Bay report gave the estuary a C-minus grade, an improvement from a D-plus two years ago and the highest score issued since the inception of the report in 1998.
Still, the report notes that the bay — an economic driver that supports fishing, farming, shipping and tourism — remains “a system dangerously out of balance, a system in crisis,” and says progress has been uneven across the region. The Chesapeake Bay watershed spans 64,000 square miles in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“The bay is getting better,” foundation President William Baker said in a conference call with reporters. “This is good news, but the recovery is fragile. There’s a long way left to go.”