Early July 2020 Hy­poxia Re­port

The Dundalk Eagle - - PUZZLES -

July Hy­pox­i­aMary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources mon­i­tor­ing data show that dis­solved oxy­gen con­di­tions in the Mary­land por­tion of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay main­stem were av­er­age in early July 2020.

The hy­poxic water vol­ume — wa­ters with less than 2 mg/l oxy­gen — was 1.35 cu­bic miles com­pared to a his­tor­i­cal early July av­er­age (1985-2019) of 1.38 cu­bic miles. Low dis­solved oxy­gen ex­tended into the Vir­ginia Ch­e­sa­peake Bay main­stem for an ad­di­tional 0.35 cu­bic miles of hy­poxia, for a to­tal bay­wide es­ti­mate of 1.7 cu­bic miles.

Based on his­tor­i­cal data, bay hy­poxia vol­umes his­tor­i­cally peak dur­ing the early por­tion of July. No anoxic zones — ar­eas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxy­gen — were ob­served in the Mary­land or Vir­ginia bay main­stem.

Mary­land’s water qual­ity data can be fur­ther ex­plored with a va­ri­ety of on­line tools at the Depart­ment’s Eyes on the Bay web­site.

Graph of dis­solved oxy­gen in the Ch­e­sa­peake BayIn June, the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Pro­gram, U.S Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, Univer­sity of Mary­land Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­men­tal Science, and Univer­sity of Michi­gan sci­en­tists re­leased their pre­dic­tion for slightly small­erthan-av­er­age 2020 hy­poxic con­di­tions based on slightly less-than-av­er­age water and ni­tro­gen flows into the bay from Jan­uary to May 2020. Mon­i­tor­ing re­sults thus far have matched that fore­cast.

Graph of his­toric anoxic water vol­umes in Ch­e­sa­peake BayCrabs, fish, oys­ters, and other crea­tures in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay re­quire oxy­gen to sur­vive.

Sci­en­tists and nat­u­ral re­source man­agers study the vol­ume and du­ra­tion of bay hy­poxia to de­ter­mine pos­si­ble im­pacts to bay life. Each year (June-Septem­ber), the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources com­putes these vol­umes from data col­lected by Mary­land and Vir­ginia mon­i­tor­ing teams dur­ing twice-monthly mon­i­tor­ing cruises.

Data col­lec­tion is funded by these states and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Pro­gram. Bay hy­poxia mon­i­tor­ing and re­port­ing will con­tinue through the sum­mer.

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