The EPA Chesapeake Bay Program is reporting that dissolved oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay dropped last year to their lowest levels in four years, with 66 percent of the estuary failing to meet water quality standards for oxygen in the hot summer months.
“Last year’s heavy rains and even this year’s early algae blooms and fish kills reinforce the critical importance of controlling polluted runoff reaching the Bay’s waters,” said Nick DiPasquale, Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The heavy runoff pollution last year (shown after a rain storm in the NASA satellite photo above) was another sign that new EPA pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay, imposed in December 2010, need to be enforced and funded.
These limits, which require a 25 percent reduction in nutrient and sediment pollution entering the Bay by 2025, have been challenged in court and Congress by industry lobbying groups. CBF is fighting to keep these pollution limits in place, and is supporting state plans to meet the limits that are like blueprints for cleaning up the Bay.
For more information on the Bay Program’s new data on oxygen levels in the Bay, click here.
By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(NASA satellite image of Bay)