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Health of Chesapeake Bay Improves

Angela Byrd

BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) - The overall health of the Chesapeake Bay improved some last year, but an annual report card for the nation's largest estuary says there is still a long way to go.

Scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on Monday gave the bay an overall score of 54 percent in the 2016 Chesapeake Bay Health Index. That's compared to 53 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2014. They are giving the bay's health a "C" grade overall.

Striped bass led the way in lifting the grade with a perfect score, followed by blue crabs and bay anchovies. All received A grades.

The report found most of the indicators factored into the Chesapeake Bay health index remained steady last year. The total area of the bay covered by aquatic grasses increased. That's one of the bay's most important habitats, providing a home for important species including blue crabs and striped bass.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.