We can never “restore” 600,000 acres of SAV because the Bay can never revert to its original forested condition that supported a few native communities. Use of the word “restoration” should always raise the red flag of unrealistic expectations.
Plus, nobody is certain that the recent improvement in SAV acreage is permanent; SAV acreage has flip-flopped in the past.
What must be done to ensure that all of the metrics improve significantly, indisputably and permanently?
The answer is the same worldwide — fertilize more efficiently so crops use more of the applied nutrients, thus reducing environmental nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
But the volume of the dead zone remains huge in summer, and the improvement, if it persists, is small.
Commercial Seafood Landings: National Marine Fishers Service data show landings for all commercial species, excepting striped bass and menhaden because they are regulated, to be steadily decreasing after the initiation of data collection in 1950.Many TMDLs, TMDL Implementation Plans, and TMDL Action Plans have been completed for waters located within or partially within the Hampton Roads region; others are under development.Despite decades of concern, beginning seriously with the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1977, water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay after 40 years is disappointingly small.Hampton Roads Planning District is committed to providing localities with the best resources, information, and technical assistance related to local water quality.Reducing pollution in the form of high levels of nutrients, bacteria, sediment, and chemicals is critical to the health of our local waterways.That low-hanging (expensive) fruit has already been picked.Reducing pollution from chemical crop fertilization is necessary, although many complex issues are involved.Sea Grass Abundance: Recently, seagrass — submerged vegetation, or SAV — beds exceeded 100,000 acres, as was reported with great glee. Some believe the Bay once had about 600,000 acres of SAV.In the mid-1980s, acreage had declined to less than 40,000, which has now slightly more than doubled.Two of the four metrics seem to document slight improvement in water quality.This is hardly surprising based on all of the money that has been spent to reduce nutrient pollution.