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Underwater Grasses

NEWS
By Baltimore Sun reporter | April 22, 2011
The Chesapeake Bay's underwater grasses decreased 7 percent in 2010, according to a report released Thursday by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The aerial survey by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found grasses covered 79,675 acres of the bay and tidal rivers, down from 85,914 acres in 2009. Despite the decline, scientists said, it is the third-highest baywide acreage estimate since 1984. The grasses are a measure of bay health because the plants serve as food and habitat, absorb excess nutrients and reduce shoreline erosion, the program said.
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NEWS
By Jackie Powder and Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF | April 2, 2002
In Stephen Ailstock's galley-style lab, the grass grows in water-filled test tubes, beakers and Mason jars. Under fluorescent light, tens of thousands of plantings sprout in graceful curves, flowery bunches and straight stalks. In controlled laboratory conditions, the Anne Arundel Community College biology professor has devised a way to grow mass quantities of the ecologically prized but scarce aquatic grasses that provide food, shelter and erosion buffers in the Chesapeake Bay. Now, Ailstock's challenge is to move beyond his cramped lab to Poplar Island, where he and his students will try to restore the underwater meadows that once thrived near the land mass two miles out in the bay near Tilghman Island.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,Staff Writer | August 10, 1992
The effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay will expand to include cleaning up the bay's rivers and restoring its underwater grasses when region officials meet Wednesday in Annapolis.Officials from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the federal government plan to sign a seven-point agreement that calls for restoring water quality in the bay's 10 major tributaries, where most of the estuary's fish feed and spawn. A draft of the agreement was obtained by The Sun.Officials also will pledge to restore the bay's underwater grasses, vital fish habitat which have been slowly returning since they all but vanished in the early 1980s.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,SUN STAFF | September 21, 2000
The health of the Chesapeake Bay didn't get any better in the past year, but it didn't get worse, either, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Crab harvests have dropped sharply and the water has gotten murkier, but the rapid loss of wetlands, which filter pollutants from the water, has been stemmed and the shad population has increased, the foundation said yesterday in its annual State of the Bay report. The foundation gave the bay a score of 28, on a scale in which 100 is the pristine quality described by the English explorer Capt.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer | June 27, 1994
Stands of underwater grasses are sprouting this year along Anne Arundel County waterways, some of them appearing in mid-Chesapeake Bay rivers for the first time in more than 10 years.This new growth means efforts to reduce pollution and clean the rivers feeding the bay are working, said William Matuszeski, director of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office in Annapolis."By implication, the water quality has improved," said Steve Funderburk, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.The grasses are valuable as habitat for insects and fish.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,SUN STAFF | October 24, 2001
The health of Chesapeake Bay slid backward last year, hampered by water pollution, development and threats to the blue crab fishery, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In its annual report card, the nonprofit environmental group said the bay's health dropped a point, from 28 to 27 on a scale of 100. The score marked the first decline in recent years. The perfect score represents the estuary's condition when European settlers arrived. Foundation members concede that level cannot be achieved, but say they would settle for a score of 70. "After two decades of modest improvements, the bay remains dangerously out of balance," said William C. Baker, foundation president.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF | November 30, 2004
With oyster harvests at a historic low and underwater grasses dying, the Chesapeake Bay remains in dismal condition, despite steps to reduce pollution from sewage treatment plants, according to the annual "State of the Bay" report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "The Chesapeake Bay is routinely described as a national treasure. But the governments' program to save the bay is fast becoming a national disgrace," said William C. Baker, president of the Annapolis-based nonprofit organization.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2014
Underwater grasses rebounded last year in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, partially reversing a three-year decline in a key indicator of the bay's health, scientists said Monday. Aerial surveys detected a 24 percent increase in aquatic vegetation baywide, from 48,195 acres in 2012 to 59,927 acres last year. That's only about third of the goal federal and state officials have set for restoring grasses to levels approaching what they were 50 or 60 years ago. Robert J. Orth, a biologist with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who coordinates the two-state survey, called last year's growth "a good recovery from what we've been seeing in the previous three years, but it still is far off from our high point" of nearly 90,000 acres in 2002.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | September 15, 2011
The Chesapeake Bay looks like a dirty bathtub, its waters turned brown with mud and awash in pollution and floating debris, including uprooted trees, propane tanks, even a battered dining-room chair. Braving boat-damaging hazards, scientists are swarming over the bay to see if the massive stormwater runoff from Tropical Storm Lee last week is going to knock the troubled estuary for another loop, just as it was recovering from an especially rough summer. "It just doesn't look right," Jamie Strong, a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said of the malted-milk hue of the water as he and state biologist Zofia Noe cruised north from the Bay Bridge on Wednesday to sample water conditions.
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