Photo Credit: Denise Bourbeau

How We Grade

The goal of the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972 is to make the nation’s waters swimmable and fishable. That goal was our guideline in measuring the indicators for this report card. In this project, the Bay’s health is perceived as a question of sustainability and resiliency: Do the indicator trends portray a Bay that will continue to provide recreation, food, clean water, and protection from storms?


Instead of trying to apply a universal grading methodology to such a variety of Bay indicators, some degree of best professional judgment was used to determine overall category grades and indicator grading scales. A detailed explanation outlines how grades were calculated and when grading relied heavily on best professional judgment based on available data. This is disclosed in the downloadable PDFs for each indicator. Letter grades correspond to a 4.0 grade point average scale, and are accompanied by descriptors ranging from”Excellent” to”Critical.”