Water Clarity / Bay Grass Criteria
Water clarity is a measure of the amount of sunlight that can penetrate through the water. Clear waters are indicative of a healthy Bay, though clarity will always fluctuate naturally depending on weather conditions. Clarity is important in providing enough light for submerged aquatic vegetation, also known as SAV or bay grasses. This metric uses near-shore clarity assessments where data are available, or acres of SAV in an area compared against a goal of historic occurrence.
The indicator measures Bay-wide progress towards the achievement of water quality standards for water clarity/underwater bay grasses for each 3-year assessment period beginning in 1985. Results for 2009-2011 indicated that 9 percent of the Bay’s surface area was attaining water quality standards for water clarity/underwater bay grasses within 91 tidal water segments containing the shallow water habitat designated use.