About Bay Grasses Maryland Dept of Natural Resources
  DNR Home

Bay Grass Coverage and Habitat Status

The abundance of bay grass in Chesapeake Bay has fluctuated greatly in the past decade. The following is a brief synopsis of some significant actions that have disturbed the growth of bay grasses.

  • Eelgrass, the most widely distributed species in the bay, was nearly decimated by “wasting disease” in the early 1930’s.
  • Despite significant increases in bay grass numbers by the 1940’s, introduction of exotic species such as water chestnut and Eurasian watermilfoil displaced many native bay grasses.

  • Mute swans reproduced rapidly and began feeding on bay grasses after their introduction in 1962.

  • Tropical Storm Agnes (1972) caused widespread damage to bay grass beds.

  • Large scale declines in submerged aquatic vegetation in the late 60’s and early 70's due to increases in nutrients and sediments to the bay.

  • Tracking of bay grass populations by scientists began in 1978.

  • In 2001, bay grasses reached the highest numbers, an estimated 85,252 acres, since tracking began in 1978.

  • Bay grass coverage was estimated to be approximately 64,709 acres in 2003.
  • Baywide acreage increased 14% to 72,935 acres in 2004.

Bay Grass Coverage Data

Bay Life Guide Bay Education Identification Bay Grasses in Classes Restoration & Projects Contact Us Bay Grass Links Education & Outreach Permitting & Regulations Restoration & Protection Bay Grasses in Classes Bay Grass Key Bay Life Guide Bay Education

a graph showing the baywide bay grass coverage from 1984 to 2009             a graph showing the Maryland bay grass coverage from 1984 to 2009

NOTE:  Scales on graphs are different

View Maryland’s Tributary Specific Bay grass coverage and Habitat Status (1984-2008)

View Baywide Yearly SAV Monitoring Project Reports at Virginia Institute of Marine Science
1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

DNR Home > Bays & Streams > Bay Grass Home > About Bay Grasses > Bay Grass Coverage and Habitat Status
Email us with questions, comments, and suggestions
  © Copyright 1995-2010 Maryland Department of Natural Resources 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
DNR Privacy Policy