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Experts predict a smaller Chesapeake Bay ‘dead zone’ for second year

Researchers from the Chesapeake Bay Program, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan and U.S. Geological Survey announced recently that they are forecasting, for the second year in a row, a smaller-than-average “dead zone” due to reduced river flows entering the Chesapeake Bay, as well as less nutrient and sediment pollution thanks to the management actions taken across the watershed to improve water quality.

Hypoxic and anoxic regions, which are areas of low and no oxygen, respectively, are caused by excess nutrient pollution flowing into the bay. Compared to the last 35 years, this year’s Chesapeake Bay hypoxic volume, or “dead zone,” is predicted to be 14 percent lower than average, while the volume of water with no oxygen is predicted to be 18 percent lower than average. In 2020, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reported the dead zone to be smaller than 80 percent of those monitored since 1985.

The levels of pollution reach...

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