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Author Topic: New fresh water record for Chesapeake Bay  (Read 711 times)
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evinrude 130
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« on: September 08, 2018, 08:56:10 AM »

Freshwater flows into the Chesapeake Bay hit an August record last month
Conowingo Dam
Susquehanna River water flows into the Chesapeake Bay on August 17, 2018. (Joel Blomquist, USGS)


Scott DanceBy Scott Dance•Contact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun

September 7, 2018, 3:35 PM



It wasn't just a surge of debris that washed into the Chesapeake Bay last month — the estuary received a record-setting flow of fresh water, scientists say, potentially hinting at long-term impacts on ecosystem health.

On average, streams and rivers were sending 133,000 cubic feet of water per second into the bay, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That is about four times normal for Augus


The previous August record was 96,000 cubic feet per second in 1955, when hurricanes Connie and Diane poured on the region.

That could have a significant impact on the health of the Chesapeake in the months to come, as freshwater flows are usually at their lowest during the summer months, USGS scientists said. The surge of precipitation this summer likely carried large amounts of nutrient and sediment pollution, and have also drastically reduced salinity in brackish bay waters.
How much Susquehanna River debris could have passed through Conowingo Dam floodgates?
How much Susquehanna River debris could have passed through Conowingo Dam floodgates?

“High river flows usually carry more pollutants into the bay and affect salinity levels, which in turn can affect oysters and fish, underwater grasses and other facets of the bay ecosystem,” USGS scientists said in a Facebook post.

River flows into the bay have remained unusually high since May, they said. Precipitation across the mid-Atlantic region this year has been up to three times normal quantities over that period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Most of the flow is coming from the Susquehanna River and other upper bay tributaries, said Scott Phillips, the USGS Chesapeake Bay program coordinator. In recent months, a large plume of sediment has been visible across the upper bay in satellite images, he said.

Scientists are still collecting data to determine what impact the rain will have on water quality and aquatic life. Nutrient pollution could lead to decreased oxygen levels in the water. Sediment could smother underwater grasses that serve as food for waterfowl and habitat for fish and crabs. And low salinity could kill some

Florence 'poised to strengthen' as threat to East Coast increases

The bay saw some of those effects after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

“We haven’t seen a summer like this for a while,” Phillips said.

Streamflow levels have declined in recent weeks, but are still above normal, he said. Whether they continue falling or surge again depends on the weather, and the threat of storms like Tropical Storm Florence, which meteorologists say could potentially reach the East Coast next week
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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 11:26:51 AM »

I have not seen a single sting ray this year.  And I am about 60 miles from the mouth of the Bay.  Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 09:11:15 PM »

I have not seen a single sting ray this year.  And I am about 60 miles from the mouth of the Bay.  Undecided

They're up the bay, that's for sure.  I caught one last week that had about a 3.5' wingspan Shocked
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 09:56:44 PM »

I see cow nose rays north of the Bay Bridge. It's part of their migration routine. Sting Rays, never seen any north of the bridge. If you read up on cow nose rays, the Chesapeake Bay has had them for years.  

Cownose Ray
Rhinoptera bonasus


The cownose ray is a brown, kite-shaped ray with a long, whip-like tail. It is a highly migratory species along the Atlantic Coast that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in summer each year to give birth and mate.

Appearance
The cownose ray's kite-shaped body has a wingspan of up to three feet and can weigh as much as 50 pounds. It varies in color from brown to olive green with a whitish belly and a long, brown tail that looks like a whip. Its squared, indented snout resembles a cow’s nose.

Feeding
Cownose rays are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever is available. In the Chesapeake Bay, they eat mostly softshell clams, macoma clams and razor clams, but they will eat oysters and hard clams when available. They find their prey by flapping their fins against the bottom to uncover buried shellfish, then using their powerful dental plates to crush the shells open. Although recent diet studies have shown that oysters and hard clams were not found to be large parts of the cownose ray's diet, intensive feeding on oysters or clams can occur.

Predators
Cobia, bull sharks and sandbar sharks are known predators of cownose rays.

Reproduction and Life Cycle
Mating takes place in June or July each summer. After mating, male cownose rays leave the Bay while females stay until October. After an 11-month gestation period, females give birth to a single live young, called a pup, in mid-June the following summer. At birth, pups are about 11 to 18 inches long. After birth, mating occurs and the cycle begins again.



Did You Know?
Cownose rays have been referred to as an invasive species, when in fact they are not.
The cownose ray is sometimes called a “doublehead” because of the indentation around its snout.
This ray swims by flapping its fins like a bird. As it swims, the tips of the fins break the surface and can look like shark fins. Many “shark” sightings in the Bay are actually cownose rays.
Cownose rays are have venomous spines at the base of their tails. Captain John Smith learned about the cownose ray’s spine the hard way. During his 1608 voyage he was stung so severely that his crew thought he was going to die. The site on the Rappahannock River where he was stung is still known today as “Stingray Point.”
Although cownose rays are sometimes referred to as skates or stingrays, they are technically neither. Cownose rays belong to their own family of rays.
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coins1101
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 11:27:36 PM »

In January 1996 the bay also had a record runoff after the blizzard of 96 and warm temps and record rains.The effects were minimal because of frozen ground releasing less nutrients.
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2018, 04:17:39 AM »

Upper bay is like bottled water. No salinity at all. Concerned about fall rockfish, I don’t think it’s gonna be a banner year that’s for sure
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