The Chesapeake Bay Program recently released a report on the extent of underwater grasses – an important indicator of Bay health.
(pic from MD Sea Grant Program)
From the report ….
“Underwater grasses provide significant benefits to aquatic life and serve many critical ecological functions in the Bay and its tributaries, such as:
Providing shelter for young striped bass, blue crabs and other species
Improving water clarity by helping suspended sediment particles settle to the bottom
Adding oxygen to the water
Reducing shoreline erosion
Scientists believe that having more grasses in the Bay and rivers will dramatically improve the entire ecosystem. The expectation is that as nutrient and sediment pollution decrease and water clarity improves, underwater grass acreages should expand. Experts closely monitor underwater grasses because their well-being is dependent on good local water quality. Therefore, their abundance is an excellent measure of the Bay’s health.”
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