CBF Statement on the UMCES 2023 Chesapeake Bay Report Card

The health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved to a C+ for the first time in 20 years in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)’s 2023/2024 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Report Card released today. The study also indicates the overall health of the Bay watershed is in moderate condition, earning a C rating, which remains consistent with UMCES’s 2022 report. 

In response to the report, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration Alison Prost issued the following statement: 

“While a C+ is an improvement, it’s clear that far too much pollution is still entering the Bay.  We can and must do more for the Bay, its rivers and streams, and the communities that depend on them. 

“Chesapeake Bay cleanup has made some tremendous progress, which can be traced back to the dedicated state, federal, and local partnership formed across the watershed. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

“Restoration efforts will not meet goals to reduce pollution by the 2025 deadline. This puts us at a critical moment for the Bay movement. We’ll be unable to tackle the significant challenges ahead unless governors across the Chesapeake Bay watershed publicly recommit to continue working together for a healthy Bay. Updating the Chesapeake Bay Agreement by the end of 2025 represents a critical opportunity for the partnership to set the stage for success.

“We have seen success in some areas. For example, there’s been consistent recovery and improvement in overall acreage of underwater grasses, However, we’re still less than halfway to meeting the Bay Agreement’s goal for sub-aquatic vegetation. We’ve also collaboratively reduced nutrient pollution from sewage treatment plants that go directly into our waterways, despite population growth and climate change. However, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment from other sources, specifically stormwater runoff and agriculture, remain areas for improvement. 

“Preventing polluted runoff from entering our waterways will require immense collaboration between states and municipalities. But its multi-faceted benefits are well worth it.  People, economies, wildlife habitat, fisheries and more all benefit from a healthy Bay.

“Reports like the Comprehensive Evaluation of Systems Response, or CESR, show us there are approaches to Bay cleanup that could be more effective and efficient, and also help us optimize the use of resources. Revising the Bay Agreement as soon as possible will be critical to putting those lessons into action and extending our progress beyond 2025.” 

B.J. Small 90x110

B.J. Small

Pennsylvania Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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