University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science | WYPR

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

A Resilient Chesapeake

May 22, 2019
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Despite record rainfall washing pollution and debris into the Chesapeake Bay last year, the bay’s health continues to improve.

Sure, it took a little dip from its 2017 score, say scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, but it still maintained an overall “C,” which the scientists say is a sign of resilience in the nation’s largest estuary.

Things are looking up for the Chesapeake Bay, according to scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The scientists released a report card on the bay’s health Friday morning that found the "positive trajectory" they’ve noted in recent years is now "statistically significant."

Chris Moe / UMCES

Dr. Helen Bailey, who did her PhD work on bottle nose dolphins, says she heard reports of occasional sightings of the marine mammals when she came to work as an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science in Solomons.

But then the underwater microphones the lab was experimenting with began picking up the tell-tale squeaks and clicks of dolphins foraging in the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Now, the scientists are finding out the dolphins are pretty regular visitors to the bay.

"We were discovering that we were actually detecting dolphins quite frequently during June, July and August," she said. "And so then put another hydrophone in the Potomac River and there we were detecting dolphins every day."