Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Mixed news for the Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Program reports that dissolved oxygen levels in the bay last summer  fell to their lowest level in four years–not good news for the crabs, oysters, rockfish and other bay life. Only about 34 percent of bay waters met established oxygen standards for those months, a 4 percent drop from 2010, according to program monitoring reports. During the summer months, dissolved oxygen concentrations in  large swaths of the bay are so low that they create dead zones inhospitable to  marine life. One the plus side,  the CBP noted  other research released this spring showing that, despite an overall decline, restored bay grasses at Susquehanna Flats on the Susquehanna River, and grass beds in the James River, were holding their own. Last year was one of extremes, with high water early and later in the year, and a hot and dry summer. Another good sign: oyster survival was at its highest rate since 1985, and oyster diseases were at an all-time low. For more, and to track the bay’s health, click here.