About 18 million people live along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The economic value of keeping waters pollution-free ranges from the fish and blue crabs we eat to the summer swims we take.
Every two years the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the bay a physical, checking into habitat, fisheries and pollution. This year the bay went from a D+ to a C-.
The stars of this year's bay check-up were rockfish with an A minus and blue crab with a B. And that's graded on a curve because there's no way the Chesapeake Bay can ever be as pristine as when the colonists arrived.
And while people out on the bay this summer remarked on how clear the water was, that indicator still gets a D-. As a less environmentally-friendly administration enters the White House, CBF president, Will Baker issued this warning.
"The recovery is fragile," Baker says. "Any reduction in effort now and we will see the gains reversed and the decline begin again."
Both Virginia and Maryland are on track to meet interim deadlines to reduce bay pollution by the end of this year.