Dead zone is growing in the Chesapeake Bay


Maryland scientists have been warning of a growing “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay.

Now the numbers are in, confirming their dire warnings were correct.

Dead zone growing in Chesapeake Bay in August 2019. Picture by John Surrick/CBF Staff.

While some researchers try to date when the largest known asteroid impact in America occurred, others are interested in measuring the extent of dead zones in water, or areas in the ocean where the oxygen concentration is so low that animals can suffocate and die.

New data from the Natural resources Department show an unprecedeted dead zone growth in the Chesapeake Bay.

As reported by AP, the area with little to no oxygen spread to 2 cubic miles (8 cubic kilometers) by late July, making it one of the worst in decades.

By comparison, July dead zones averaged about 1.35 cubic miles (6 cubic kilometers) for the past 35 years.

The worst section includes the lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers and much of the Bay, from Baltimore to the mouth of the York River.

Responsible for this impressive growth are heavy rains that washed wastewater and agricultural runoff into the bay and produced oxygen-stealing algae. Again, this will surely have a devastating effect on the state’s seafood industry.

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