SANDI SMITH | 19 June 2013
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program will unveil the 2012 Report Card, a detailed assessment on the health of the bays behind Ocean City and Assateague, Thursday, June 27, at 4 pm at Micky Fins located in the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City. The public is invited to attend.
The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of the 2012 Coastal Bay’s health. Coastal Bays health is defined as the progress of four water quality indicators and two biotic indicators toward scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. The six indicators are combined into one Coastal Bays health index, presented as a report card score.
The first collaborative effort of a report card which gave Maryland’s coastal bays a C+ grade was launched in 2008, finding sea grasses rebounding but still at levels little more than half of those seen earlier in the decade. That year, as with proceeding ones, show water quality holding steady or improving in the northern bays but declining in the formerly healthier bays south of the Ocean City Inlet. Last year’s report card grade was a C.
The report card is a scientific collaborative effort between the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science – Integration and Application Network, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the National Park Service.
Hundreds of volunteers work with MCBP, including local residents and visitors, to support environmental initiatives to protect, promote, and preserve our coastal bays, by volunteering to count horseshoe crabs, terrapins, and birds, collect water samples, clear neighborhoods, wetlands, and dunes of trash, and assist in many other activities.
Part of the National Estuary Program, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program is a non-profit partnership between the towns of Ocean City and Berlin, the National Park Service, Worcester County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Environment, & Planning. One of only 28 such programs nationwide, the goal of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program is to protect and enhance the 175-square mile watershed, which includes Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin, and Assateague Island National Seashore.
Report cards will be available after this event at the Maryland Coastal Bays office and area visitor information locations. Should you like to obtain copies for school projects and citizen groups please contact Sandi Smith or by calling 410-213-2297 ext. 107