algae blooms

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - An environmental sciences professor says eating less meat can help the Chesapeake Bay.

James Galloway of the University of Virginia tells the Daily Press that farm animal waste is a big part of the nitrogen runoff that depletes oxygen in the bay.

Galloway says eating one-third less meat from cows, pigs and chickens in the watershed could make the difference. He says Americans typically consume 30 percent more protein than they need. 

Angela Byrd

FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) - Researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have found a surprising explanation for the improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay: cleaner air.

Professor Keith Eshleman (ESH'-el-men) in the center's Frostburg office said in a statement Tuesday that his team found nearly universal improvement in water quality since 1986 across the Upper Potomac River Basin. The area includes parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Angela Byrd

BALTIMORE (AP) - A report by environmental scientists says the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved as efforts to reduce runoff from land continue.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science released the report Tuesday. The center says improvements in 2015 in water quality, chlorphyll and nitrogen levels contributed to a resurgence in aquatic grasses.

One indicator that declined was total phosphorus, excess quantities of which can lead to algae blooms.

The numbers of striped bass held steady, blue crab and bay anchovy improved.

Algae is becoming a problem for fishermen in the Maryland Coastal Bays.

WBOC reports that some fishermen say that the growth has gotten out of control clogging fishing nets as well getting tangled with rods and in engines.

Maryland Coastal Bay Program’s director Dave Wilson told the television station that the warm weather has been one of many factors in this year’s spike in algae growth.

And experts say the large amount in the water is sucking up the oxygen damaging such stocks as flounder, clams and crabs.

Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE (AP) - The size of the Chesapeake Bay's low oxygen "dead zone" is down and dry weather is getting the credit.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says testing last week found nearly 12 percent of the bay had poor oxygen levels, nearly half of the long-term average for this time of year. The dead zone dropped from about 30 percent of the bay in July, which typically is when the zone peaks each year.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Chesapeake Bay dead zones are down this June from last spring when heavy rains pushed them to levels not seen in decades.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says samples collected in early June show 12 percent of the bay's main stem had low oxygen levels, down from the same period last spring when a third had levels too low for life. The long-term average is 17 percent.

DNR says warmer, drier conditions this winter, compared to the extremely wet spring last year may be the difference.