Freshwater flows to Bay highest in 82 years of monitoring
"The 12-month “water year” that ended September 30 had the highest river flows into the Chesapeake Bay since such monitoring began 82 years ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
On average, more than 974,000 gallons of fresh water surged into the Bay each second last year, which was also the second consecutive year that river flows in the Bay were above normal. It marks the first time the Chesapeake has borne the brunt of back-to-back high flow years since 2003 and 2004, according to USGS data.
Such large freshwater flow years carry an increased amount of nutrients and sediment that are flushed off the land into rivers and ultimately the Bay. Sediment and nutrient-fueled algae blooms cloud the water, causing crucial underwater grass beds to die off. And when the algae die and decompose, the process draws oxygen out of the water leading to so-called “dead zones” that are off-limits to most fish and other aquatic life. . ."