- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Researchers at the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science earlier this month released a report card concerning the Chesapeake Bay's health, giving this huge ecosystem and premier striped bass spawning area a grade of C-minus.

”The Bay's ecological conditions have not significantly changed from 2007 and remain far below what is needed for a healthy Bay,” the report stated.

But not everything is bad. Overall, there were 15 reporting regions that were graded; they ranged from a B-minus (moderate-good) to an F (very poor), but a bit of good news was discovered as well.

For the second year in a row, the highest ranked region was the upper western shore that includes the Bush and Gunpowder rivers. The worst region, ecologically speaking, was the lower western shore of Maryland, which includes the Magothy, Severn, South, West and Rhode rivers. However, farther down the Bay, Virginia's James River, like the Bush and Gunpowder in Maryland, is noticing that restoration efforts appear to be having a positive influence on the local ecosystem's health and water quality.

The scientists also analyzed the ecological conditions in the freshwater streams and rivers that feed the Bay.

“The data collected at more than 3,200 monitoring sites across the Bay's drainage basin show that degraded streams are found throughout the watershed, especially in areas with significant urban, agricultural or mining uses,” the report said. The researchers agreed that without healthy streams there can be no healthy Chesapeake Bay.

More information and the 2008 Chesapeake Bay Health Report Card, including region-specific data and downloadable graphics, can be seen at www.eco-check.org/reportcard/chesapeake/2008.

Coastal Conservation chapter meets - The Northern Virginia chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association invites the public to come to its meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna. Charter fishing captain Tom Hughes will have a power point presentation, “Catching Striped Bass on the Upper & Middle Chesapeake Bay.” He will discuss spinning and fly-fishing from Hart-Miller Island in the upper Bay south to the gas docks in southern Maryland. Hughes' yearly striper fishing begins on the Susquehanna Flats and moves south in the Bay when the trophy rockfish season begins, then finishes down at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Questions? E-mail [email protected]

Sporting Clays Classic next week- The National Kidney Foundation that serves the national capital area will have its annual Sporting Clays Classic on April 25 at Pintail Point Resort in Queenstown on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The event consists of a 50-target shoot beginning at 9:30 a.m. and a 100-target shoot beginning at 2 p.m. Beginners and experienced shooters are welcome. In the D.C. region, over 700,000 people have kidney disease, approximately 6,000 are on dialysis and nearly 1,600 await life-saving kidney transplants. This shooting event will help raise much-needed funds.

Tickets for foursomes range from $500 to $1,000, and individual tickets range from $125 to $250. Interested in this worthwhile cause? Check out kidneywdc.org or call 202/244-7900.

• Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Read Mueller's Inside Outside blog at washingtontimes.com/sports.

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