Chesapeake Bay Foundation makes a statement regarding the historical 2020 Dead Zone

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The Chesapeake Bay Program said the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported the 2020 dead zone is the second smallest observed in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay since monitoring began in 1985.

On Wednesday, the CBF also announced researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reported the dead zone there was smaller than 80 percent of dead zones reported in the 35 previous years.

By definition, the dead zone is composed of portions of the Bay that have little or no dissolved oxygen.

Researchers said the areas are caused when algae bloom fed by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution decomposes and removing oxygen from the water.

The low oxygen areas are inhospitable to marine life such as crabs and fish, the CBF said.

The Bay Program said the decrease in the dead zone is due to the ongoing state pollution reduction efforts as part of the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint.

In addition to pollution reduction efforts, cool spring and summer rains helped mix oxygen into the water.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an advocate for states to ramp up pollution reduction efforts ahead of the cleanup’s 2025 deadline.

CBF Director of Science Beth McGee issued the following statement in response to the announcement about the small dead zone:

“This year’s small dead zone is another positive sign that watershed-wide Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts are working. As the 2025 deadline looms, we’re encouraging states to figure out new ways to reach pollution reduction goals, including by adding more natural filters to the landscape such as trees, grass pastures, and wetlands. Doing so will increase the resiliency of the Bay and help it handle the influx of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. A smaller dead zone means more areas for oysters, crabs, and fish, to thrive in the Bay. This is good news.”Beth McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Director of Science

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