Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Good Sign: Bay Grasses Up Again

Underwater grasses up 8%; acreage is highest in decades
Underwater grasses, one of the most closely watched indicators of Chesapeake Bay health, surged to the highest levels seen in decades, according to survey results for 2016.

This is the second straight year that grasses have set a record.

Nearly 100,000 acres of the Bay’s and its tidal tributaries were covered by the underwater meadows, which provide habitat for juvenile fish and blue crabs, as well as food for waterfowl.

That was an 8 percent increase over 2015, and more than twice what was in the Bay just four years ago. “It was an impressive year following a previously impressive year and we are at numbers that we’ve not seen — ever,” said Bob Orth, an underwater grass expert with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who oversees the annual aerial survey, which began 33 years ago.
 I would hate to be overly optimistic, but my feeling that the bay has turned a corner (for the better) is being reinforced. I'll be fishing on the Eastern Shore Saturday, and maybe we'll see some.

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