Chesapeake's Dead Zone May Be Improving | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Chesapeake's Dead Zone May Be Improving

Play associated audio

This past summer, the Chesapeake Bay's dead zone was among the worst on record. Scientists blame heavy rains and high temperatures. But things may be getting better over the long term.

Dead zones are giant areas of water in the center of the Chesapeake Bay where there isn't enough dissolved oxygen to support much life. Massive numbers of bottom dwelling creatures suffocate to death every year, caused by nutrient pollution from fertilizer, exhaust, and sewage. But since 1980, the size of late-summer dead zones -- or hypoxia -- has decreased by about 20 percent, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.

"We were surprised," says Michael Kemp, with UMD. He says that the shrinking of late summer dead zones correlates with reductions in nutrient pollution since the 80's.

"The lesson is yes indeed the bay will respond to reduced nutrient loading," says Diaz.

Bob Diaz, with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, reviewed the research and says it needs further investigation, but notes one thing is clear.

"It will require a much greater reduction than what we've seen in the last 20 years for the hypoxia in the bay to really be reduced," he says.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says that efforts to curb nutrient reduction are under threat both in the courts and in Congress.

NPR

Film About Campus Sexual Assault Tells Survivors: 'You Are Not Alone'

Survivors Annie Clark and Andrea Pino brought a Title IX complaint against the University of North Carolina. "This is not about UNC," Clark says. "We're not doing this to vilify our institution."
NPR

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps

Millions of tons of food are wasted on college campuses around the country, and students are noticing. Some of them are now rescuing food to make tasty meals for the needy and compost for gardens.
NPR

Jeb's Rowdy Supporters Help Him Escape The CPAC Lion's Den

The former Florida governor's supporters shouted down his hecklers at his much anticipated appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.