Ocean City, Maryland. Yesterday, the annual Coastal Bays Report Card was unveiled, issuing a C+ grade for the state of water quality and ecosystem health throughout Maryland’s Atlantic Coastal Bays. The grade marks a slight improvement in state of the Coastal Bays since last year and continues on a trend of improved ecosystem quality in our estuaries.
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.
The Report Card was launched at a ceremony held at Micky Fins in West Ocean City. The lively event was chaired by Maryland Coastal Bays Program Executive Director Dave Wilson and featured presentations from James C. (Bud) Church, President of the Worcester County Board of Commissioners; Steve Taylor, Chairman of the Board for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program; Wm. Gee Williams III, Mayor of the Town of Berlin, and Dr. Bill Dennison, Vice President for Science Applications at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The event was well attended by members of the community, volunteers, press, the Worcester County Board of Commissioners and a representative from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin’s office.
Check out these Report Card resources:
- Download the 2012 Report Card
- Review the detailed methods and results on the Eco-Check website
- View local news coverage on the Report Card
Check out images from yesterday’s event: