One-third of the Chesapeake Bay is a dead zone this year. The Washington Post reports:
Especially heavy flows of tainted water from the Susquehanna River brought as much nutrient pollution into the bay by May as normally comes in an entire average year, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources researcher said. As a result, “in Maryland we saw the worst June” ever for nutrient pollution, said Bruce Michael, director of the DNR’s resource assessment service.
The dead zone could grow to be the largest ever. The way it works is that farm runoff leads to a bumper crop of bay algae, which love the stuff. They grow quickly, die quickly and "decompose into a black glop that sucks oxygen out of deeper waters." No oxygen means dead fish, dead oysters, and dead crabs.
Fixing the situation will require billions of dollars and a win against powerful farm lobbies that don't want to bear the cost of their nasty farming practices. So mid-Atlantic residents should probably just get their local seafood fix while the getting is still kind of good; who knows how much longer we have until the Chesapeake Bay becomes the Chesapeake Expanse of Black Glop?
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