Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Blooms in Spring

Spring has arrived early and so have algae blooms in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Department of Natural Resources is tracking several spring algae blooms, including a large bloom of prorocentrum between Tangier Island and the Potomac River.

Spa Creek in Annapolis also is suffering from a mahogany tide, possibly prorocentrum, said Bruce Michael, director of DNR's resource assessment service.

Algae blooms are typical in the bay and its rivers when too many nutrients fuel the rapid growth of algae. When the algae die, they suck life-sustaining oxygen from the water.

"They're a little bit earlier than we've seen in the past because of the warm temperatures and the warm, sunny weather," Michael said.

DNR scientists also are already seeing low oxygen levels in the water in the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay. But it's not yet low enough to qualify as a "dead zone."

Winds, rain or cool weather could improve the algae and oxygen situation in the bay.
Yep, more light and rising temperatures will do that.  We've also seen signs of a pretty dense algae bloom where I work too.  I haven't seen anything at the beach, yet.  The water was quite clear the last time we were walking.  That could change any day, though

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