Chesapeake Bay Program reports slight decline in underwater grass abundance

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In 2018, an estimated 91,559 acres of underwater grasses were mapped in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.

SAV, Courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program

Credit: Skyler Ballard, Chesapeake Bay Program

While this acreage is less than the previous year, it is likely that substantially more submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) grew in the Bay than the mapped acreage suggests: frequent rain, cloudy water and security restrictions prevented researchers from successfully collecting aerial imagery from some areas. 

Dr. Peter Tango, Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey and Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Program Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting Workgroup, noted: “Short-term fluctuations of bay grass populations are common. Over the past 30 years, the assessment of annual monitoring data shows a sustained long-term positive trend for underwater grasses on a Bay-wide scale. The trend reflects ecosystem resilience in response to progress made through the continued management actions taken by Chesapeake Bay Program partners throughout the watershed. We look forward to a full area assessment in 2019 to better understand the effects of the wet weather conditions during 2018 on our progress towards restoring bay grasses and meeting our long-term recovery goals for bay health.”

For more information, read the Chesapeake Bay Program press release.


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