The Chesapeake Bay Program recently released its “State of the Chesapeake Bay,” a 58-page report on the cooperative efforts working to protect and restore North America’s largest estuary.

The report is an in-depth look into current environmental conditions throughout the region and provides opportunities to involve every resident of the Bay watershed in the restoration effort.

Regularly published by the Bay Program since 1985, the report follows the framework of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement, and focuses on improving water quality, protecting vital habitats, encouraging sound land use, engaging communities in restoration and protection activities, and improving and protecting the Bay’s living resources.

Highlights of this year’s report include:

  • Underwater Bay Grasses: the total acreage of Bay grasses has increased since the low point in 1984 from 38,000 acres to more than 69,000 acres in 2000. The Bay Program’s aim is to achieve 114,000 acres by 2005.
  • Nutrient Progress: A recent analysis revealed that between 1985 and 2000, phosphorus loads delivered to the Bay from all tributaries declined by 8 million pounds per year. Nitrogen loads declined 53 million pounds per year. Despite these efforts, the nitrogen reductions fell short of the 2000 goal by 24 million pounds per year, phosphorus loads fell short 2.3 million pounds.
  • Fish Passages: In 2000 and 2001, an additional 87 miles of waterways in the Bay watershed were reopened to migratory fish.
  • Blue Crabs: The 2001 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report indicated that blue crab abundance is below average and has been in decline in recent years. In 2001, Bay jurisdictions adopted a baywide threshold for the blue crab stock, and agreed to a 15 percent reduction in harvest levels.
  • Waterfowl: Data released in June 2001 show an increase in several species of waterfowl living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with 12 of 21 monitored species or species groups meeting year 2000 population goals.

To order a copy, call 1-800-YOUR-BAY or visit www.chesapeakebay.net