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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.pilotonline.com/news/loc...cle_f518b125-f304-5673-899c-3a5d2f54e6b3.html

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153646207695943.1073741909.8914040942&type=3

"The Chesapeake Bay is looking strangely clear. But why?

By Dave Mayfield

The Virginian-Pilot

Nov 29, 2015

Tangier residents have gotten used to being cast as poster children for bad news on the climate front. Some scientists have predicted their Virginia island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay will succumb to sea-level rise before this century ends.

But, thankfully, the watermen of Tangier have found a happier topic of conversation. Lately and without a ready explanation, the bay around them looked unusually clear.

At times, it's been the clearest some folks like Mayor James "Ooker" Eskridge can remember in years.

"It's been the talk of the town some days," the mayor said last week. "Lots of folks noticed it. … I was commenting to some of the other crabbers: We've got water like you'd see in the Caribbean."

The mayor, a waterman himself, remembers first noticing the greater clarity toward the end of September. It's typical for bay waters to sparkle more at that time as temperatures drop and algae growth slows. But this fall, even some old-timers have been struck by just far down into the water they could peer some days.

Now, scientists have become intrigued. Is it a one-time event or a sign of more to come?

Chris Moore, senior scientist in Virginia for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is hoping it's the latter.

Clearer water is good for the bay's health, Moore said. It allows more sunlight to reach the bottom of shallow areas. That helps restore underwater grasses, which provide food and habitat for crabs, fish and other creatures.

What's not so clear is why Tangiermen and other folks who venture out on the Chesapeake began seeing the bottom for the first time - or at least the first time in a long while - in many places....."

The article continues at link listed above.
 

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Yep I too have noticed this. I have been telling the various guests that have come out with me this fall that I have never seen the bay so clear.
My father has told me that back in the day you could see crabs crawling around the bottom in 15ft of water.

Lets hope this continues.
 

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Yep I too have noticed this. I have been telling the various guests that have come out with me this fall that I have never seen the bay so clear.
My father has told me that back in the day you could see crabs crawling around the bottom in 15ft of water.

Lets hope this continues.
Your father is absulutetly right I grew up in those times and would not trade it for any thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
gets clear every winter...
Its not winter yet and its been clear since summer.

The Severn river had better water clarity and more vegetation in the summer than I have seen in the past 20 years.

And related to improved water quality or not, the crabbing was off the hook in the Severn this year with high numbers of large crabs. The Comms were trotlining in 20 ft of water in mid summer; that depth was anoxic in summertime in years past.

I had trouble with crabs dropping off the trotline and I could see them when they were still 4 ft below the surface even in mid-summer and often I did better with traps/net rings than the trotline due to water clarity. Back in the creeks there were few algal blooms and they were smaller and more localized than in years past.

I had a great year fishing and crabbing on the Severn!!
 

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Yes, this was more than the usual, cold weather clarity. It also seemed to be more than the usual drought clarity. In fact, we didn't have a drought. We had a dryer than normal late summer/early fall, but a much wetter early summer, so I don't think we can blame this all on dry conditions.

One possible suspect is false mussels, which have seen a bit of a population boom due to the wet weather of '14, '15. They thrive in fresher water and provide great filtering (like oysters). But from what the folks studying this in the field are saying, this false mussel boom does not appear to be as large or widespread as '04-'05. And it is certainly not Baywide. It should have no impact below the Bay Bridge, much less Tangier.

Other possibilities: the air is much cleaner in the Bay watershed than it was 20-years ago thanks to emissions standards. Air pollution was thought to provide a significant amount of nitrogen pollution to the Bay. For all the talk about agricultural pollution, many farms have adopted less impactful practices, including along the Suskie in PA. The ban on phosphates in detergent went into full effect a couple of years ago. And let's not forget recovering oyster populations. Maybe all of these things are adding up to create a tipping point and to initiate positive feedback loops? As John Page always says, if you want simple answers, this is the wrong estuary.
 
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