Reports say Chesapeake Bay is still hurting

Two new reports show that, despite 22 years of clean-up efforts, the Chesapeake Bay is still in miserable shape. Pollution and population growth are on the rise, sullying the bay and its tributaries. A report issued by the Chesapeake Bay Program — a partnership between the U.S. EPA and watershed states — found degraded water and damage to grasses, crabs, clams, and worms. The University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science also released a river-by-river report card that gave the overall area a grade of D+. Ouch. “The bay is not responding as robustly and fully as we’d hope,” says Jeff Lape, director of the Chesapeake Bay Program. As a few positives surfaced, such as sewage-plant upgrades and vehicle emissions laws, you could almost hear the sound of advocates summoning their strength. “I hope [the report card] doesn’t give the wrong impression that we’re simply not making progress,” said Jeff Corbin of Virginia’s Natural Resources department. “We’re doing this for the long haul.”