In addition to the Overview information provided for Habitats, the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Workgroup has described their priorities and progress in a new tab below. Throughout ChesapeakeStat, the descriptors of SAV and bay grasses are used interchangeably. Other important work is being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to restore habitats, including but not limited to restoring wetlands, streams, and oyster reefs. Additional information on these efforts will be included over time.
What progress has been made
How much money is being spent
Between 2010 and 2011, 3,775 acres of wetlands were established or re-established in the Bay watershed, achieving 13 percent of the outcome.
In 2010, habitat restoration efforts took place on 1,896 acres of oyster reefs. This brings the total acreage treated since 2007 to 4,763 acres.
Although meeting this target is an important accomplishment, more work is needed to establish and maintain a sustainable oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
was reported in the Chesapeake Registry for 2010 by the Bay Program partners.
Reported funding information is available for activities that protect and restore habitat in the following areas: fish passage, submerged aquatic vegetation, wetlands, vital aquatic habitats support, and other work to protect and restore vital aquatic habitats.
Progress toward restoration is an assessment of whether Bay Program partners are making progress on their goals and planned actions. Achieving our health goals is influenced by many factors, such as weather, resulting in health goal changes that do not always directly correspond to changes in restoration progress. The Funding information is presented as reported to the Bay Program and does not currently capture all Bay Program partner work.
What is the current health of Bay habitats?
In 2011, there were an estimated 63,074 acres of underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay, a decrease of 16,590 acres from 2010.
About the Data: 2011 acreage is based on preliminary data provided March 23, 2012. Only 57,956 acres were mapped baywide in 2011. It is estimated that an additional 5,119 acres may have been present (for an estimated baywide total of 63,074). These acres could not be mapped due to excess turbidity present months after the passage of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The regions that were not mapped are contained within nine CBP segments, including the Middle, Upper and Western Branch of the Patuxent River; the Middle and Upper Potomac River; Piscataway Creek; and the Anacostia River. The estimated additional acreage is based on acreages mapped in those regions in 2010. Zone and density totals do NOT include estimated additional acreage. The historic data featured in this indicator changed from that reported in the 2010 assessment. The 2010 data changed due to the finalization of preliminary data.
In 2011, 56 percent of the Bay’s surface waters met the phytoplankton goal, a slight improvement from 2010.
Water clarity is currently too poor and pollution levels too high to consistently support healthy phytoplankton communities. Algae blooms are still frequent, harmful species of algae are often abundant, and algae cells show signs of stress.
Why are Bay habitats important?
Habitats have the ability to provide food and shelter for organisms, as well as filter the water, trap pollutants, mitigate flood waters and provide oxygen to the water. Without critical habitat protection and restoration, a restored Bay will not be possible.Abundant, healthy habitats are needed for many of the Bay’s iconic species to survive to adulthood and reproduce safely. Clams and worms need an unpolluted environment at the bottom of the Bay. Abundant underwater grasses and wetlands are vital to juvenile fish and crabs. For all aquatic life to flourish, the algae that make up the foundation of the food web must be of the proper type and in the right amounts. The Bay watershed also includes diverse habitats that need to be maintained, such as marshes and forests.
The Bay Program partners focus on practices, policies, and programs that will protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitats across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Bay Program is promoting significant federal, state, local and non-governmental participation in large and small-scale restoration efforts in targeted areas, combined with government-sponsored restoration on public lands and incentive and grant programs for restoration on private lands.
Learn more about habitat and lower food web health.
Detailed Habitats Funding Information
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