June 16, 2016

Smaller Chesapeake Bay dead zone predicted

Headlines announce that NOAA predicts a smaller dead zone with little to no oxygen in the Chesapeake Bay this summer. Should we rejoice that this dead zone will ONLY be about the size of 2.3 million Olympic-size pools? The sea life in those areas will not be thriving or rejoicing. And we should not be complacent. Much more still needs to be done to keep runoff out of these waters. More folks still need to apply less fertilizer to their lawns. Virginia and Maryland have made strides in reducing nutrient pollution, but Pennsylvania needs to get onboard to reduce the "stuff" from farms that still flow down the Susquehanna River.

Turtle research in the Chesapeake Bay may answer some questions

Loggerhead turtles are quite numerous in the Chesapeake Bay. 5000 to 10,000 enter the Bay each summer to feed. But quite a few of them end up dead, washing up on Bay shorelines as they decompose. Loggerheads are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

So the ingenious folks at VIMS have recreated two "Frankenturtles" using the carapace of two dead turtles. They plan to track these fake turtles as they get blown around the Bay to determine the causes of death. Interesting plan!