ANNAPOLIS, MD—This year, the Chesapeake Bay’s summer “dead zone” was the smallest it’s been since monitoring began in 1985, according to data released by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s monitoring partners: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Old Dominion University (ODU) and Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).
“These results illustrate that nutrient input reductions can produce a significant improvement for fish, crab and oyster habitats, and that we need to continue and advance our management efforts throughout the watershed,” said Mark Trice, program chief of water quality informatics with DNR’s Resource Assessment Service.
Dead zones are areas of low oxygen—less than 2 milligrams per liter oxygen—that form in deep bay waters when nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrients) enter the water through polluted runoff and feed naturally-occurring algae. This drives the growth of algal blooms, which eventually die and decompose, removing oxygen from the surrounding waters faster than it can be replenished. This creates low-oxygen—or hypoxic—conditions at the bottom of….