Bay Journal

Topics: Wildlife + Habitat

Chesapeake dead zone holds steady in 2018 but hits extremes along the way

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The Chesapeake Bay’s overall “dead zone” turned out to be average in size this year, but abnormal weather through spring and summer made for some extreme conditions along the way, according to reports from Maryland and Virginia.

Researchers with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science determined via a computer model that the total volume of “hypoxic” water in the Bay, with oxygen levels low enough to stress fish, crabs and shellfish, was on par this year with that of 2017, taking up about 7 percent of the mainstem Chesapeake.

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Dolphins!

It’s summer, and humans aren’t the only mammal tourists visiting the waters of the Chesapeake. Will you be lucky enough to see an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin? If not, you can learn more about these animals by taking this quiz....

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About Wildlife + Habitat

The Chesapeake Bay region supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish.

It is also home to at least 29 species of waterfowl. Nearly one million waterfowl winter on the Bay – approximately one-third of the Atlantic coast’s migratory population. The birds stop to feed and rest on the Bay during their annual migration along the Atlantic Flyway.

Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators.

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