Bay’s Oxygen “Dead Zone” Smaller Than Normal Despite Predictions

A Star Democrat article in the Cecil Whig (2017-07-31) reported that the Chesapeake Bay’s oxygen-deprived “dead zone” was smaller than normal for June, despite predictions that the dead zone would be larger than average over the summer. From the article:


The dead zone was originally expected to be larger than average this summer, with scientists in June pointing to higher than average spring rainfall amounts in New York and Pennsylvania, and that stormwater would makes its way to the Susquehanna River, which flows south until it reaches the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, and this spring brought with it above average nitrogen loads, a nutrient that helps fuel algae growth. …

“The better-than-average conditions could be partially attributed to sustained westerly winds during the sampling period, which mixed oxygen deeper into the water column in the main Bay channel,” the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stated in a press release dated July 25. …

DNR stated that in the lower mid-Bay, habitat improved with non-hypoxic conditions stretching from the surface down to about 33 feet deep, an improvement from a late June result of 25 feet.

The article also briefly discussed potential federal funding cuts to the Bay restoration efforts, Pennsylvania’s need for additional water quality actions, and the sediment and nutrient overflow from the Conowingo Dam.

Useful Links

DNR Press Release on Bay Hypoxia (2017-07-25)