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Early June 2017 Hypoxia Report

photo by Elizabeth Davis

Dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were near average in early June. The hypoxic water volume (areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was approximately 0.93 cubic miles, which is slightly above the early June 1985-2016 average of 0.86 cubic miles. No anoxic zones (areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) were detected.

Maryland early June hypoxia volumes since 1985.

In the beginning of June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Michigan scientists predicted a slightly larger than average hypoxic volume for the bay due to higher spring flows (January-May) and nitrogen loading from the Susquehanna River.

Crabs, fish, oysters and other aquatic creatures require oxygen to survive. Scientists and natural resource managers study the volume and duration of bay hypoxia to determine possible impacts to bay life.

Each year (June-September), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources computes these volumes from data collected by Maryland and Virginia monitoring teams. Data collection is funded by these states and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. Monitoring and reporting will continue through the summer.

For more information on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay water quality monitoring program and results, please click here.