Experts say Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone” is 7th smallest in 35 years
MARYLAND – There’s some good news for the Chesapeake Bay: experts say the dead zone in the Bay is the seventh smallest they’ve seen in the past 35 years.
The dead zone is an area of the bay where plant and animal life can’t survive because there’s little to no oxygen. The dead zone gets larger when there’s an increase in pollution causing algae to grow out of control. However, experts say Hurricane Isaias helped stir up the water in the Bay in August helping to reduce the dead zone which in turn can have a positive impact on the economy.
“It’s an economic driver, our fisheries are so strong, our blue crabs, our oysters. So if we have a really large dead zone that really impacts all of those economic values the environmental benefits we get from recreation,” says Rachel Felver with the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Felver says the Maryland Department of Natural Resources puts out a forecast every June for what the dead zone may look like in the summer. They also conduct monitoring cruises to collect water samples starting in April or May and go through September or October.