Underwater grasses expanded 21 percent.
The blue crab population jumped 35 percent.
The Bay's native oyster population, a critical species that naturally filters the Bay's water, is rebounding.
And, for the past two years, the Bay's main stem has not experienced pollution-related anoxia (water completely devoid of oxygen). This is a first since scientists began tracking aquatic oxygen levels in 1985!
All of these are promising signs of the Bay's recovery.
Your generosity also allowed us to celebrate another type of progress. We concluded a five-year legal battle, confirming that the federal and state Bay clean-up partnership, the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, stands on firm legal ground. The Blueprint has brought about unprecedented regional collaboration and very real pollution reduction. The Blueprint is being hailed as a national model.
Despite so much good news, we can't forget how much further we have to go. We must do more to address some of the most challenging forms of pollution, including polluted runoff from our roads, cities, and suburban development. Across the watershed, funding is needed to help farmers reduce agricultural pollution.
And Pennsylvania lags behind in meeting its commitments to reducing pollution under the Blueprint. About 25 percent of Pennsylvania's rivers and streams are so polluted that the state has designated them as "impaired."
As we look ahead to CBF's 50th anniversary in 2017, we celebrate all that we have accomplished in the past five decades, and we are humbled by how much lies ahead.
Your vision and confidence make everything we do possible. We hope you will enjoy reading this report, which shares some of the achievements that you have helped make possible.
Thank you for your belief in a better future and your continued commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Together, we will settle for nothing less than a fully restored Chesapeake Bay.
Photo Credits: 1. Pete McGowan, 2. Loren Barnett/CBF Staff, 3. John Rodenhausen/CBF Staff, 4. Jay Fleming.