VIMS: Chesapeake Bay sees another record year in underwater grass abundance

Underwater grass abundance in the Chesapeake Bay surged to a record for the second straight year, continuing a four-year trend of improving numbers, according to a new survey released Thursday.

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science say seagrass beds in the bay expanded overall by 8 percent from 2015 to 2016 to about 97,433 acres. That’s 7,433 more acres than the 2017 restoration goals set under the Chesapeake Bay Program to restore the estuary and the highest number VIMS has ever recorded.

In fact, actual abundance numbers are likely even higher, researchers say, because there were portions of the Potomac River they weren’t able to survey this time because of weather and security restrictions. If you factor in old 2015 figures for those unsurveyed areas, they said, it would likely bring abundance up to 99,409 acres, or 54 percent of the goal.

Robert “J.J.” Orth calls the achievement “fantastic.” Orth heads up the seagrass monitoring and restoration program at VIMS.

“We are at numbers that we have not seen in — ever,” Orth said. “I think it’s pretty impressive, and I think it speaks a lot to the fact that we think that the efforts to clean up the bay, the TMDLs, probably are working.”

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top