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Chesapeake Bay Underwater Grasses Continue to Rebound
Underwater grasses continue to rebound across the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia scientists reported Thursday, with aerial surveys showing a 27 percent expansion last year.

The two-state survey tallied nearly 76,000 acres of grasses growing in creeks, coves and other shallow waters, including some areas where aquatic vegetation hasn't been documented in years, if ever.

"For the first time in a while, we’re getting calls from frustrated property owners ... having trouble accessing the bay from their docks because there’s so much grass along their shorelines, and it’s getting tangled in their boat’s propellers," said Brooke Landry, a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Problematic as that may be for boaters, it's encouraging ecologically, as the grasses provide vital habitat for blue crabs and fish, while also helping to clean up the water.

Even so, the extent of aquatic vegetation seen last year is still just 41 percent of the goal set by states and the federal government for restoring the bay's vitality.


 
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Degraded Condition of Georgica Pond - Georgica Pond is eutrophic, with excessive nitrogen inputs from ground and surface water runoff feeding dense plant life, the decomposition of which is blamed for choking the pond of oxygen, the condition known as hypoxia. To combat that decomposition, the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation has operated an aquatic weed harvester in recent summers to remove macroalgae before its decomposition can promote blooms of cyanobacteria, the blue-green algae that have beset the pond annually.


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