Thursday, December 15, 2011

Floods Impacts on Bay Grass Less Than Feared

The Chesapeake Bay Program says underwater grasses in the Susquehanna Flats survived this fall’s heavy rains better than researchers expected.

Heavy rains from back-to-back storms that caused widespread flooding throughout the Northeast also sent tons of garbage and sediment into the bay. That raised concerns about damage to underwater grasses in the upper bay that are a key habitat for many species.

However, the Chesapeake Bay Program says aerial photos taken in November show the damage was not as bad as feared. Robert Orth of Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences says declines were found along the edges, but researchers were surprised by how much of the beds remained. Orth heads a team that conducts an annual survey of bay grasses.
Well, that's a relief.  I would have guessed that between Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and the unnamed deluge we got late this fall that the grasses would have taken a pretty good hit this year. But then, maybe they're tougher than we think they are, and something else caused their declines.  Now, if I can just get a decent few days fishing in on the flats.

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