Text Size: A  A  A

Chesapeake Bay News

Archives: October 2009

Oct
22
2009

Young Striped Bass Population in 2009 Slightly Below Average, but Considered Healthy

The number of young-of-the-year striped bass – fish that are less than one year old – found in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay in 2009 was up from last year but still a bit below average, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2009 Young-of-the-Year Striped Bass Survey.

The survey found 7.9 young-of-the-year striped bass per haul, which is double that of last year, but still below the long-term average of 11.7.

“These numbers may be slightly below the average, but it’s well within the normal range of expectations,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell.

Striped bass, also known as rockfish or stripers, are one of the top predators in the Chesapeake Bay food web. Since they depend on large quantities of prey for survival and are affected by several other environmental factors, it is entirely normal for there to be spikes and dips in the yearly average.

This year’s index of young striped bass, in combination with record-setting classes like 1996, 2001 and 2003, helps to strengthen the once-struggling striped bass population in the Chesapeake Bay.

DNR biologists have monitored the reproductive success of rockfish and other species in Maryland’s portion of the Bay annually since 1954. They survey 22 sites located in the Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke rivers and the upper Bay, which are the four major spawning areas for striped bass. Biologists check each site monthly from July to September by sweeping the area with a large net and counting all the fish collected in the net.

This year’s survey led to the identification of more than 35,000 fish from 49 different species. Of those, 1,039 were young-of-year striped bass.

For more information about the 2009 Young-of-the-Year Striped Bass Survey, visit DNR’s Striped Bass Survey website.



Keywords: striped bass
Oct
16
2009

BayBlog Question of the Week: How was the Chesapeake Bay formed?

Welcome to the second installment of our newest feature, the BayBlog Question of the Week. Each week we'll take a question submitted through the Chesapeake Bay Program website and answer it here for all to read.

This week's question comes from Samantha. She asked:

What forces of nature caused the Chesapeake Bay to form?

The Chesapeake Bay as we know it today took on its current shape about 3,000 years ago, but its geologic history can be traced back about 35 million years. Around this time, a rare bolide, or a comet-like object from space, impacted the Earth. This impact did not create the Bay, but it did contribute to natural processes that eventually formed the Bay as we see it today.

The bolide collided with the Earth near what we now call Cape Charles, Virginia, on the lower tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, and created a crater. The crater is thought to have been as large as Rhode Island and as deep as the Grand Canyon. According to this article from National Geographic News, the impact of the bolide led to tsunamis and the decimation of marine life in the surrounding areas. The crater lay beneath sand, silt and clay for millions of years before it was discovered.

It was about 18,000 years ago when the Bay really began to form, as glaciers from the last Ice Age began to melt. During this time period, mile-thick glaciers existed as far south as Pennsylvania and the Atlantic coastline at that time reached about 180 miles farther east than it does today. As the glaciers melted, they carved rivers and streams flowing toward the coast and sea level rose continually. This led to the eventual submersion of what we know now as the Susquehanna River Valley.

History is rich in the Chesapeake Bay; evidence of the ancient Susquehanna River can still be found in a few deep troughs that form a channel along a large portion of the Bay’s bottom. But the Chesapeake’s 3,000 year history in its present shape does not mean there haven’t been changes. In fact, the Bay is constantly changing due to the forces of erosion and sediment transport.

For more information about the history of the Chesapeake Bay, visit our Bay History  page.

Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Please send it to us through our web comment form. Your question might be chosen for our next BayBlog Question of the Week!



Keywords: questions, geology
Oct
08
2009

BayBlog Question of the Week: Balloons and the Bay

We're starting a new feature here on the BayBlog called the BayBlog Question of the Week. Each week we'll take a question submitted through the Chesapeake Bay Program website and answer it here for all to read.

This week's question comes from Elaine. She asked:

I would like to use balloons as promotional give-aways, but I am concerned for the environment. What is your position on balloons and the environment?

The Chesapeake Bay Program does not have an official position on balloons and the environment. I did some research on this topic and found that releasing balloons into the air is the issue that can have environmental consequences. When balloons are released into the air and eventually deflate, they can fall back to earth and become litter on our ground and in our waterways. In this 2004 Baltimore Sun article, a staff member with the National Aquarium in Baltimore noted that animals such as fish, gulls, dolphins and sea turtles can confuse deflated balloons with food.

If you decide to use balloons as promotional giveaways, perhaps you could include a note that encourages users to dispose of the balloons properly and not intentionally release them into the air. Because we all love balloons -- we just don't want them to become litter, or worse, food for wildlife and aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways.

And remember, if you're outside and you see a deflated balloon lying on the ground or in a tree, pick it up! We all need to do our part to help keep litter out of our parks, beaches and waterways.

Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Please send it to us through our web comment form. Your question might be chosen for our next BayBlog Question of the Week!



Keywords: questions, Pollution
Oct
01
2009

Find Bay events and trip ideas in Chesapeake Trips and Tips

If you're looking for Chesapeake Bay-related day trips for you and your family, check out Chesapeake Trips and Tips, a new weekly e-mail from the Friends of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network with events taking place throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed during the upcoming weekend. This week's edition of Chesapeake Trips and Tips includes a festival in Baltimore, an Eastern Shore bull and oyster roast, and a reenactment of the 1774 Yorktown Tea Party.

And remember,you can always visit baygateways.net for ideas for day trips and weekend getaways around the Chesapeake Bay region. The Gateways Network includes 160 parks, museums, water trails, historic sites and other spots that show the local area's connection to the Chesapeake's culture, history and environment. So get out there and explore the Bay!



Keywords: recreation
410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
Directions to the Bay Program Office
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2012 Chesapeake Bay Program | All Rights Reserved