How Will July Deluge Affect Health of the Chesapeake Bay?

Bay Journal article (2018-07-27) discussed the potential effects of the late July deluges on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Bay restoration efforts. The article noted that the Bay watershed received 7 inches plus of rain from July 21 through July 25. However, the long term effects, if any, will be determined in the next several months.

Significant rainfall events can negatively effect water quality because additional nutrients and sediment gets washed into the Bay and its waterways.  Typically, heavy rainfall in the Bay area occurs during the spring and the mid-summer deluge is unusual. From the article:

High flows in the summer can be more damaging than at other times because it’s the peak of biological activity for many important Bay species, from underwater grass beds to juvenile fish and crabs.

Indeed, a recent report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of the Environment examined the impact of high flow events from the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake during similar storms in January, June and October.

The June storm, it found, had “greater adverse impacts to water quality, habitat, and living resources than October and January events.”

Useful Links

Lower Susquehanna Watershed Assessment Final Report (United States Army Corps of Engineers & Maryland Department of the Environment)

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Lower Susquehanna Watershed Assessment

Learn more about the health of the Chesapeake Bay at the Clear Water: The State of the Bay panel on August 17 at the 2018 MACo Summer Conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

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