- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2003

ANNAPOLIS — The health of the Chesapeake Bay is worse than last year because state and federal governments have failed to stop the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, according to report by an environmental watchdog group.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s sixth annual “State of the Bay” report gave the estuary a score of 27 out of 100 possible points, down one point from the 2002 rating.

Foundation President William C. Baker said the governments have not fulfilled their agreement to help restore the Bay by 2010. If the agreement was fully implemented, the Bay’s health rating would be 40, according to the foundation.

The governments have yet to “implement any decisive actions that will, in fact, begin to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, the prime cause of the Bay’s illness,” Mr. Baker said in a news release.

The rating is the average of scores given in 13 categories focusing on habitats, pollution levels and fisheries, such as blue crab and rockfish.

The foundation said the decline was the result of increased nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which comes from sewage-treatment plants, agricultural neighborhoods and cities.

However, scientists for the private foundation said they saw a few improvements — including more forest-buffer restoration and a increase in the shad population.

The Bay foundation this year changed its baseline score for underwater grasses, after receiving new information that historic levels of the grasses were lower than previously thought. The foundation then revised the scores it gave the Bay’s health in previous years, raising last year’s rating to 28 instead of 27.

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