2016 SotB


Global emissions of greenhouse gases are bringing about higher temperatures, longer growing seasons, and rising sea levels. These changes influence everything from the chemistry of bay water to the location and distribution of ecosystems like saltmarshes and bay grass meadows. The timing and degree to which migratory fish and birds use the estuary may change; […]


Water recreation and eating fresh seafood are some of the great joys of living on the coast; however, there is reason for caution when using many areas of the Inland Bays. Pathogens—illness causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites—can enter water from many sources, including waste from wildlife, humans, and domestic animals. Some bacteria that occur naturally […]


Abundance—or absence—of birds, fish, and shellfish in the Bays are often the most noticeable signs of environmental changes. These living resources are useful indicators of shifts in water quality, habitat, and climate; in part because they are easy for us to observe. Since the 2011 State of the Inland Bays Report was issued, living resource […]


Measures of water quality are the most basic indicators of Bay health. They are key measures of the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce pollution to the Bays. The six water quality indicators are based on the minimum requirements necessary for reestablishment of bay grasses and healthy dissolved oxygen levels. Each water quality indicator individually […]


Nutrient pollution is the largest problem facing the Inland Bays. Point source pollution originates from a pipe, such as discharge from a wastewater treatment plant. Nonpoint source pollution originates from diffuse sources and enters the Bays through groundwater and surface runoff. Sources include fertilizers, septic systems, land application of wastewater, and stormwater runoff. Atmospheric sources […]


The population of the Inland Bays watershed is growing, and the landscape is rapidly changing from farms and forests to residential and commercial development. Much of the development is concentrated around waterways where its potential impact on water quality is greatest. Since the last report, development increased another 7.8 square miles (11%), replacing agricultural lands, […]