Chesapeake Bay’s health is getting worse, report says

Posted at 3:51 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 18:07:57-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The health of the Chesapeake Bay dropped in 2018, according to a new report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The State of the Bay report gives the health of the bay a D+, down from a C- in 2016. Officials say the decrease is due to more pollution in the Bay caused by record rainfall.

The Chesapeake Bay

"Simply put the Chesapeake Bay suffered a massive assault in 2018," said Will Baker, the president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

While the overall report drops the Bay's score, there were some positives, including the Bay's ability to recover from severe weather events.

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“This is a challenging time for Bay restoration. Massive environmental rollbacks in clean-water and clean-air regulations proposed by the Trump Administration may make achieving a restored Bay more difficult,” said Baker. “Another restoration hurdle is the fact that science expects more extreme weather events in the future as the result of climate change.”

The report comes out every two years and examines 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries. Two of the 13 improved.

Christy Everett, the Hampton Roads Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, called the report disappointing. "We're moving in the wrong direction in terms of the challenges," she told News 3.

Recently, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled a budget plan to increase funding to improve water quality. "A healthy Chesapeake Bay and waterways is worth billions of our economy," he said last month. "People work on the water. They crab. They fish. People also enjoy the quality of life."

Bay advocates hope the measures will pass during the upcoming General Assembly session, which begins on Wednesday.