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

No Small Feat: The NBA's Shortest Player Never Gave Up

At 5 foot 3, Muggsy Bogues holds the record as shortest player in NBA history. Criticism of his height started on the basketball courts of the Baltimore projects, and continued well into his career.
NPR

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
NPR

Ranting And Throwing Papers: An Angry Candidate Runs For Congress

State Rep. Mike Bost's rants on the Illinois House floor are the stuff viral dreams are made of. Bost says he has good reason to be upset, and wants voters to share his anger.
NPR

Israel's Solar-Powered 'Trees': For Smartphones And Community

The man-made trees are designed to create a public space where people can gather and re-charge a battery — their own and their smartphone's.

Leave a Comment

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