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Algae Blooms

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By TOM PELTON | September 2, 2006
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is advising people to avoid swimming in sections of the Potomac River with blue-green algae blooms near the border of Prince George's and Charles counties. Accidental ingestion of the algae Microcystis can lead to fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Blooms of the algae have been reported along the Potomac from Piscataway Creek to Smith Point, the agency said yesterday. People are advised to wash their skin if they touch parts of the river colored by bright-green scum.
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FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 28, 2014
If spring is here, dead fish can't be far behind. State officials are investigating a wide-ranging fish kill spotted Monday, stretching from Fells Point in Baltimore harbor out into the Chesapeake Bay. Authorities have yet to pinpoint a cause, though warm weather tends to bring a die-off in local waters almost every year. Dead fish were seen floating off Fells Point in the city and beyond the Patapsco's mouth at Cox's Point in Essex and near Bodkin Point in northern Anne Arundel County, according to Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.
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NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Tom Horton and Heather Dewar and Tom Horton,Sun Staff | September 27, 2000
HELSINKI, Finland -- Along the seacoast here, vacationing families keep their dogs away from the water some summers. If the animals drink it, they could die. Along the sugar-sand beaches of Florida's Panhandle, the bodies of 115 dead dolphins wash up. In California's Monterey Bay, more than 400 sea lions die after agonizing seizures. And along the Pocomoke River of Maryland's Eastern Shore, people who find themselves surrounded by dying fish develop strange symptoms: rashes, breathing trouble and memory lapses.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | June 24, 2012
The "dead zone" that forms every spring in the Chesapeake Bay is smaller than average so far this year, state officials report. Water sampling done in early June by the Department of Natural Resources found dissolved oxygen levels too low to be suitable for fish, crabs and shellfish in just 12 percent of the bay, according to the department's "Eyes on the Bay" website. That's well below the long-term average since 1985 of 17.1 percent of the Chesapeake experiencing low oxygen levels.  It's also a dramatic improvement over last year, when a third of the bay's waters was starved of the oxygen that fish, crabs and shellfish need to breathe.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | August 10, 2001
Potentially poisonous freshwater algae are blooming in the upper reaches of the Chesapeake Bay and in the Sassafras, Elk and Bohemia rivers. State biologists discovered dense blooms of Microcystis, which looks like a spill of blue-green or yellow-green paint, during routine sampling Tuesday. The algae blooms stretch across the upper bay "from the mouth of the Sassafras all the way over to Aberdeen and north a little way," said David M. Goshorn of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN REPORTER | June 10, 2007
To the tourists pushing strollers around the Inner Harbor, the water looks fine -- a little green and murky, but nothing like a few days before, when thousands of dead fish floated on the surface after a huge algae bloom. Allen R. Place knows better. A biochemist who spends much of his time studying the waters that flow in front of Baltimore's premier tourist attractions, Place paces the dock, looking nervous. The water is too green, he says, bending over near Houlihan's Restaurant at one of his makeshift water-quality monitoring stations.
NEWS
By TIMOTHY B. WHEELER | June 2, 2009
It isn't just Baltimore's Inner Harbor that's been plagued lately with fish-killing algae blooms. Scientists with the Department of Natural Resources say they've been seeing "extensive algal blooms" this month across Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay. The scientists say they've detected high concentrations of Prorocentrum minimum, a type of algae with little whiplike arms that enable it to move in the water. http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/hab/HAB_maps.cfm.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2012
Record-high water temperatures and a March sewage leak are contributing to a large algae bloom in the Baltimore harbor, bringing what is known as a "mahogany tide" of reddish-brown algae to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. The bloom is somewhat earlier and more severe than usual, scientists say, despite the fact that a developing drought has limited runoff pollution from feeding algae growth. Water testing conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources shows skyrocketing levels of chlorophyll, the molecule plants use to turn sunlight into energy, and plummeting levels of oxygen in waters near Brooklyn and Cherry Hill.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF | April 8, 2004
Department of Natural Resources scientists have identified unusually large algae blooms in sections of the Chesapeake Bay that could choke marine life this summer and create the largest oxygen-deprived "dead" zone on record. Although scientists are unsure exactly what effect the blooms will have in the long term or how bad the summer "dead zone" could be, they said they have never seen dissolved-oxygen levels so low this early in the year since 1986. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation went public with the findings at a news conference in Annapolis yesterday as part of a lobbying effort for the so-called "flush tax" that would raise funds to curb nutrient pollution from sewage plants.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | March 15, 2001
OCEAN CITY - As morning mist softens the hard edges of the townhouses lining Isle of Wight Bay, three men haul up a small dredge within shouting distance of the concrete shore. Inside, amid the seaweed and soda bottles, is a shellfish smorgasbord: starfish and clams; rock crabs and spider crabs; ancient, armored horseshoe crabs. And a half-dozen fat female blue crabs, wider than the palm of a big man's hand. "This bay has a lot more variety than the Chesapeake," says Jim Casey, one of the three state Department of Natural Resources biologists aboard the skiff.
HEALTH
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | June 14, 2012
The fish kills that have plagued Baltimore's Inner Harbor and nearby creeks over the past two weeks may have eased with the dip in temperatures, but scientists caution that's not the last we've seen of potentially toxic and even deadly algae blooms in area waters. As summer heats up again, potentially dangerous microorganisms could bloom in the wake of algae blamed for suffocating fish from Dundalk to Annapolis. Officials are keeping tabs on the growth of algae around the Chesapeake Bay that have poisoned tens of thousands of fish — including one type found blooming in a Cecil County river that has in the past killed two dogs and can also be fatal to humans.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | June 4, 2012
The environmental group Blue Water Baltimore is investigating what it believes is a sewage spill at the Inner Harbor near the Domino Sugar Plant. David Flores, the water quality manager for the group's Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper program, said he inspected the area near Key Highway on his boat on Monday afternoon and believes, based on the odor and grayish appearance of the water, that a quarter-mile sewage discharge is stretching throughout the...
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | May 24, 2012
The algae blooms fouling Baltimore area waters apparently have claimed more victims, as more dead fish have been spotted floating in the Inner Harbor and washing ashore at Fort McHenry just south of downtown. Investigators with the Maryland Department of the Environment , who saw upwards of 100,00 dead fish in creeks south of the city Wednesday and hundreds more in Dundalk, confirmed the Inner Harbor die-off today. MDE spokesman Jay Apperson said the harbor's mahogany colored water fit the same recipe for a fish kill.  He offered no estimate of how many dead fish there were, noting that the city's trash-skimming boats were scooping them up, "but as soon as they go by, there's more.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2012
Something's rotten on the Baltimore area waterfront. Fish are washing ashore by the thousands in a mass die-off that officials say appears to be caused by a weather-driven worsening of the pollution that chronically plagues the Chesapeake Bay. State investigators expanded their probe Wednesday into what they believe are algae-related fish kills in Marley, Furnace and Curtis creeks in Glen Burnie, raising the estimated death toll there tenfold, while...
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2012
State officials are investigating what killed thousands of fish in Marley and Furnace creeks in northern Anne Arundel County, but suspect they suffocated after an algae bloom sucked the oxygen out of the water, a Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman said Tuesday. Investigators saw an estimated 6,000 dead and apparently dying fish Monday, mostly in Marley Creek but some as well in adjoining Furnace Creek, said MDE spokesman Jay Apperson. There were at least nine different species of fish involved, including Atlantic menhaden, silversides, silvery minnows and sunfish, he said.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2012
Record-high water temperatures and a March sewage leak are contributing to a large algae bloom in the Baltimore harbor, bringing what is known as a "mahogany tide" of reddish-brown algae to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. The bloom is somewhat earlier and more severe than usual, scientists say, despite the fact that a developing drought has limited runoff pollution from feeding algae growth. Water testing conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources shows skyrocketing levels of chlorophyll, the molecule plants use to turn sunlight into energy, and plummeting levels of oxygen in waters near Brooklyn and Cherry Hill.
NEWS
May 29, 2004
BEL AIR - The state departments of Natural Resources and the Environment are advising people to be cautious when swimming in the Bush River in Harford County this holiday weekend because blue-green Microcystis algae blooms have been found there. The algae blooms, which occur naturally in tidal freshwater portions of Chesapeake Bay estuaries, can use up oxygen, causing fish to suffocate. The state agencies said affected waters might appear as if a blue-green to yellow-green paint is floating on the surface.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2012
Something's rotten on the Baltimore area waterfront. Fish are washing ashore by the thousands in a mass die-off that officials say appears to be caused by a weather-driven worsening of the pollution that chronically plagues the Chesapeake Bay. State investigators expanded their probe Wednesday into what they believe are algae-related fish kills in Marley, Furnace and Curtis creeks in Glen Burnie, raising the estimated death toll there tenfold, while...
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | September 26, 2010
Soft and stringy, a mat of green clings to the bottom of the long metal trough as warm water courses down it to the Susquehanna River. "There it is — green gold!" says Patrick C. Kangas, as he scoops up a clump of blue-green algae growing in the sluiceway he's set up at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant, just across the Maryland line. Kangas, a University of Maryland ecological engineer, sees a bright green future in such lowly pond scum — a solution to the Chesapeake Bay's water-quality woes, and possibly even a clean, renewable energy source to boot.
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