RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Scientists say an indicator of the Chesapeake Bay's health -- underwater grasses -- has reversed a three-year downward trend.
The Chesapeake Bay Program released its annual report on underwater grasses on Monday. The program says the abundance of underwater grasses increased 24 percent between 2012 and 2013.
Underwater grasses are considered critical to the bay ecosystem because they offer food to small invertebrates and migratory birds and shelter for young fish and blue crabs.
The increase in aquatic vegetation reflects the rapid expansion of a type called widgeongrass in saltier waters of the mid-bay. Eelgrass also saw a modest recovery.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the regional partnership leading the restoration of the bay. Its partner states include Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Washington, D.C., is also a partner.