Even though Hurricane Ida has passed, it is still impacting the Chesapeake Bay.
The Susquehanna River, which runs from upstate New York and through a large section of Pennsylvania, is the largest source of freshwater for the Bay. The increased level of rain and runoff as a result of Ida means that there is currently a larger volume of highly polluted water pouring into this waterway.
Upstream, Ida’s impact has resulted in localized flooding and threats to life and property; downstream, as more pollutants and sediment floods into the bay there is now a threat local ecological life. Increased chemicals from agriculture like nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algae blooms which have devastating consequences; increased levels of sediment can not only impact the color of the Bay but also the delicate ecosystem.
While we are expecting some negative impacts from Ida, the good news is that Ida’s timing could have been much worse. Storms that hit during the beginning of growing season, in the spring, can have a much greater impact on local life compared to those that hit at the end of summer or fall, when much of the aquatic plant life has already started to die off.