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Bay health better, still much work to be done, CBF says
Nitrogen and phosphorus--compounds in fertilizer, animal waste and sewage--promote growth of vast blooms of algae during the spring and summer months. When the tiny organisms die, they consume oxygen needed by other aquatic life.
Sediment--a major source of pollution in by rivers such as the Rappahannock--covers shellfish beds on the bottom, and reduces water clarity needed for plant growth.
In Virginia, CBF's priorities for this year include:
General Assembly approval of funding to upgrade municipal wastewater treatment plants, controlling stormwater runoff, and helping farmers with soil and water conservation efforts.
Working with state and local officials to ensure that the state meets its two-year bay cleanup benchmarks.
Ensuring that Virginia implements the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's menhaden management plan.
"We have made progress, but much of the Bay and many local waterways don't provide healthy habitat for fish, oysters, and other aquatic life," Baker said. "Pollution has cost thousands of jobs and continues to put human health at risk."
Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
Here's how the Chesapeake Bay fared on its latest report card, compared with 2010 (index scores are in parentheses):
Rockfish: A, no change (69)
Blue crabs: B+, (50 to 55)
Oysters: F, (5 to 6)
Shad: F, no change (9)
Forested buffers: B+, no change (58)
Wetlands: C+, no change (42)
Underwater grasses: D-, (20 to 18)
Resource lands: D+, (31 to 32)
Nitrogen: F, no change (16)
Phosphorus: D, (23 to 27)
Water clarity: F, no change (16)
Dissolved oxygen: D, (19 to 25)
Toxics: D, no change (28)
--Chesapeake Bay Foundation