In this season of graduation gowns, commencement speeches, and flying mortar board caps, graduating students celebrate their accomplishments and are hopeful for a successful future. Of course, to reach graduation day every student has to receive passing grades. This week, the Bay received its own grade, earning a "C" on its health report card from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
A student graduating with a GPA in the "C" range wouldn't be among the most accomplished of his or her peers, but for the Bay, a "C" grade is a sign of progress. This is only the third time since the report card was first issued in 1986 that the Bay received a "C." The other two years, 1992 and 2002, were years of drought, when there was little precipitation to wash polluted runoff into the Bay. In contrast, 2015 was an average year for precipitation. Additionally, Bay health has been on a steady upward trend, scoring a 45 percent in 2013, 50 percent in 2014, and 53 percent for its 2015 report card. This good news reveals the progress being made in reducing pollution to the Bay. All signs point to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint working.
That said, there is plenty of work left to be done. And as Kim Coble, CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration, reminds us, "The region is not on track to meet its long-term goals and Bay jurisdictions, with EPA's leadership, need to do significantly more if we are to realize a restored Bay by 2025 as the states and EPA committed to achieving." While the Bay certainly hasn't "graduated," there is reason to be hopeful that with the continued implementation of the Blueprint, the Bay can truly be saved.
This Week in the Watershed: Grading the Bay, Contaminated Wells, and Baltimore Basements
- Crabbers are finding success so far this season as a result of the improving blue crab fishery. (Daily Times—VA)
- The Chesapeake Bay received a "C" on its health report card, according to researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. (Bay Journal) Bonus: CBF Statement
- A new paper found that air pollution, particularly nitrogen oxide from agriculture, is impacting water quality. (Bay Journal)
- A proposed pipeline cutting through Virginia forests has environmentalists concerned. (Bay Journal)
- Coal ash ponds, a remnant leftover from the burning of coal, has contaminated many private wells of Virginians. (Richmond Times-Dispatch—VA)
- Sewer main problems are creating quite a smelly and expensive mess in Baltimore basements. (Baltimore Sun—MD) Take action right now to tell elected officials and environmental agencies working on this issue that we must see a legally binding agreement that effectively tackles the sewage in Baltimore streets without over burdening citizens.
Take action right now to tell elected officials and environmental agencies working on this issue that we must see a legally binding agreement that effectively tackles the sewage in our streets without over burdening citizens. - See more at: http://takeaction.cbf.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18608#sthash.6w0bjj6N.dpuf
What's Happening around the Watershed?
- Shady Side, MD: Break a sweat and help Save the Bay—join CBF in cleaning the "homes" of the next generation of Chesapeake Bay oysters! Help restore the Chesapeake's native oyster population by cleaning oyster shells. We'll be shaking off the dirt and debris on shells so baby oysters can successfully grow on them. This "shell shaking" event is a bit of a workout but a fun, hands-on experience. With lifting involved, it is not recommended for individuals with bad backs or other health concerns. A tour of our restoration center will follow the shell shaking. Click here to register!
- Baltimore, MD: For nearly two years, CBF has been working on renovating a vacant lot in West Baltimore into a green space. Join us as we put on the finishing touches and celebrate! The morning will include a final planting of perennials followed by an opening ceremony. Everyone is welcome to join the fun and help finish the planting, be inspired by our community leaders, and eat some hotdogs, potato salad, strawberries, and watermelon. (This event was rescheduled from May 14 due to weather). Click here to register!
- Throughout Virginia: Join us for the 28th annual Clean the Bay Day! One of the largest volunteer efforts in Virginia, roughly 6,000 volunteers remove more than 100,000 pounds of harmful debris from Virginia's waterways and shorelines. With sites all across the Commonwealth, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Click here to learn more and register!
—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate