CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP)- Experts say there are more than 100,000 acres of underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay for the first time in decades.           

The Chesapeake Bay Program, which is working to restore the area’s grasses, says the milestone is evidence of water quality improvement.           

Surveys of bay and tributary portions in 2016 estimated nearly 98,000 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation. That number was hailed as the world’s most prolonged and robust recovery of submerged meadows.           

The 2017 estimate totaled nearly 105,000 acres, which exceeds the program’s restoration goal for the year. Experts credit the record-breaking resurgence to the 2010 federal mandate that directed bay states to reduce nutrient pollution to the watershed.