Two-Mile Dead Zone Confirmed in Cheaspeake Bay Due to Warm, Wet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Two-Mile Dead Zone Confirmed in Chesapeake Bay Due to Warm, Wet Weather

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Warm weather is welcomed by many in the summer, but mix that with lots of rain, and it's a bad outcome for the Chesapeake Bay.

Earlier this year, University of Maryland scientists predicted a 2 cubic mile large dead zone, an area with no oxygen, would form in the waters of the bay. They were right.

In late July, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources confirmed it found that 2-mile dead zone significantly worse than what they've found in years past.

Scientists say it's a combo of intense heat and freshwater pollution that's caused the abnormally large dead zone, wreaking havoc for some bay-area watermen, including Queen Anne's County waterman Dennis Anthony.

Anthony says it takes days to catch just a bushel of crabs and nearly half a day to find crabs to catch. Time, he says, is running out.

"The numbers are extremely low," Anthony said. "It seems like this dead zone is a wall where they won't come through. It's very minimal and it's almost August. The season is already three quarters of the way over for us."

Watermen say the culprit: lots of freshwater from the rain this year, flowing through the Conowingo Dam and driving down salinity levels.

Rob Newberry of the Delmarva Fisheries Association says more must be done to stop what's happening at the Conowingo Dam as well as the wastewater pollution from entering the bay.

Scientists also say the rising temperatures have heated bay waters, adding to the dead zone and potentially harming an entire ecosystem that relies on oxygen to breathe.

"July is even worse than what was initially predicted," Dave Nemazie, a coastal scientist at the University of Maryland of Environmental Science, said.

But Nemazie says he's hopeful improvements to stopping pollution and wastewater will continue to help the bay.

"There's absolutely hope for the bay. The bay is very resilient. We've seen a lot of improvements," Nemazie said.




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