Health of Chesapeake Bay Graded at All-Time High, C-

Jan 5, 2017


In this Thursday Oct. 8, 2015 file photo, waterman Shaw Rose retrieves an oyster dredge on his boat on the Rappahannock River near White Stone, Va. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's biennial State of the Bay report, released Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, gave the nation's largest estuary a grade of C-, an improvement from two years ago and the highest since the first report was issued 18 years ago.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

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.