State of the Bays
How Do We Assess the State of the Bays?
Your vital signs, such as blood pressure and body temperature, provide indications of your state of health. When you’re ill, a physician measures your vital signs, evaluates your symptoms and makes a diagnosis. With this information, often a doctor can pinpoint the cause of your problem or illness.
Similarly, scientists use environmental indicators, discreet measures of one aspect of environmental quality or species population, to assess the health of estuaries.
Indicators can be used alone or in combination with other assessments to paint a picture of a water body’s condition and its value to the people who use it. For example, indicators based on concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in an estuary could be combined with an indicator based on total acreage of submerged aquatic vegetation to tell a story about the effects of water quality on a bay’s living resources. As additional indicators are included, the message or story becomes more complete.
A suite of indicators were selected by the Indicators Subcommittee of the Inland Bays Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. The indicators were selected based on their usefulness to provide the following:
- Evaluate progress in the Inland Bays restoration effort;
- Monitor environmental condition and environmental response to restoration efforts;
- Provide information needed to establish restoration goals;
- Regularly inform and involve the public in achieving the restoration goals; and,
- Make detailed information and reference data available to others.
Additional Information About the State of the Bays
View the 2004 Delaware Bays’ Environmental Indicators report (PDF)
View the 2010 Recreational Water Quality report (PDF)
View the Recreational Water Quality Report Technical Document (PDF)
View the Wetlands Health Report Card (PDF)