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Underwater grass abundance declines for second year in a row in Chesapeake Bay, tributaries

In 2020, the preliminary figure of 62,169 acres of underwater grasses was mapped in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, achieving 48 percent of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s 2025 restoration target of 130,000 acres and 34 percent of the ultimate restoration goal of 185,000 acres, according to a release from the Chesapeake Bay Program.The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that has coordinated efforts to restore the bay and its watershed since 1983. Its partners include federal and state agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions.

Although the 62,169 acres of underwater grasses observed in 2020 have increased from the 38,958 acres noted during the first survey in 1984, it is a 20 percent decrease from the current 10-year average of 78,168 acres.

The preliminary acreage observed in 2020 is a 42 percent decline from 2018 when it was estimated that the bay may have supported up to 108,078 acres of underwater grasses. While t...

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