CBF Statement On 2022 Bay Grasses Improvement

The Chesapeake Bay Program has released the 2022 results of the annual Bay grasses survey, which found a 12 percent increase in Bay grasses over the previous year. The survey, conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, found approximately 76,400 acres of grasses in 2022. That is more than the long-term average of 69,600 acres, but well below the 2018 survey, which estimated approximately 108,000 acres of grasses. The Bay restoration goal is 185,000 acres.

Following the release of the results, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers (a member of the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Working Group of the Chesapeake Bay Program) issued this statement.

"Bay grasses are essential to the health of the Bay and the increase over the last two years is good news. Bay grasses provide essential habitat for many Bay species like juvenile blue crabs, which rely on the cover provided by grass beds to avoid predators as well as adult crabs as they molt and "double up" for reproduction.

"The major barrier to increasing Bay grasses is water clarity, both over space and time. Reducing pollution improves water clarity and allows the grasses to thrive. Over the years we have seen that when water clarity improves, Bay grass acreage can increase dramatically.

"A recent report from leading Bay scientists identifies strategies that can accelerate improving water quality and the health of the living resources in our rivers, streams, and the Bay. Among the recommendations being considered is to focus restoration efforts on shallow-water habitat. If that is done, we could see significant increases in Bay grasses and the 185,000-acre goal could be reached. As we come together and design what comes next for the Bay clean-up, CBF believes we must continue to follow the science and thoroughly evaluate all the report's recommendations."

John Surrick 90x110

John Surrick

Former Director of Media Relations, CBF

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