Report released on condition of mid-Atlantic estuaries
The US EPA has released a report focusing on the current condition of the US mid-Atlantic coastal estuaries.
The report identifies specific geographic problem areas in the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Estuary and Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) estuaries and estimates the percentage that are in good, moderate or degraded condition based on various measurements, particularly the number of oysters.
Oyster harvests are less than 1 percent of what they were 100 years ago.
Other issues include water quality, sediment contamination, habitat change, fish contamination and other aquatic life affected by pollution.
High nutrient levels continue to contribute to low levels of oxygen, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay leading to a decline in the number of fish and other aquatic organisms.
The Delaware Estuary has both high nutrient levels and areas of chemical contamination. The coastal bays appear to be the most healthy estuaries in the Mid-Atlantic but are threatened by increasing