Chesapeake Bay grasses only slightly hurt by record rain

July 26, 2019 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland environmental officials say underwater grasses in the nation’s largest estuary were mostly resilient to last year’s record rain and increased runoff pollutants.

A state Department of Natural Resources statement says a total of about 91,000 acres of seagrass were mapped in Chesapeake Bay the last year, only a slight drop from the 105,000 acres mapped in 2017. It says the actual acreage for last year could be significantly higher, as more than 20% of the bay wasn’t fully mapped due to bad weather and other issues.

Heavy rain in previous years caused sharp declines in grass abundance. State biologist Brooke Landry says past years of expansion helped a majority of grass beds survive the surge in rain.