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Past Tropical Storms, Heavy Rains Killing Bay Oysters

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Dead oysters are washing up on beds above the Chesapeake Bay, and watermen are blaming heavy rains and Tropical storms Lee and Irene.
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Dead oysters are washing up on beds above the Chesapeake Bay, and watermen are blaming heavy rains and Tropical storms Lee and Irene.

Watermen are blaming heavy rainfall and Tropical storms Lee and Irene for the dead oysters washing up on beds just above Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Larry Simns, president of Maryland's Watermen's Association, says he suspects the heavy rain diluted the Bay's brackish water in some areas making it too fresh for the oysters to survive. Simns adds the storms may have also led to lower oxygen levels in the water, or buried oysters in sediment.

A spokesman for the state's Department of Natural Resources says teams are conducting tests and sampling oyster bars to determine a cause. They hope to have some preliminary answers later this week.

Meanwhile, many watermen are reportedly switching over to late-season crabbing or fishing, while some are heading south to saltier waters.

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