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Thread subject: Not an osprey to be found
Name Date Message
Melanie 09/16/11 02:05 pm I took a ride at lunch today up around the bluffs by Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a normally osprey-rich environment. Not a single osprey was to be found. And the Bay looks like chunky chocolate milk. tree trunks, limbs, logs etc. and that's on the surface. I can't even imagine what's below. There's still lots of debris still making its way downstream. I was talking with a friend at CBF and he said that right now the top half of the Bay is all fresh water. It even smells like a freshwater lake. Very unsettling.
Nancy L 09/16/11 03:17 pm As of yesterday afternoon, still a young osprey eating dinner on his natal nest in Great River., L.I.
Lori 09/16/11 07:40 pm Ewwwww, Melanie, I can only imagine how that will mess up the ecosystem. Will probably be some dangerous boating next season too. On the bright side, I did see an osprey fishing in Southaven Park today & for whatever reason, there is an osprey in Patchogue that doesn't seem to want to leave yet. Gonna be darn chilly tonight tho, so he might want to get his tail feathers in gear.
Peter 09/17/11 09:37 am Following up on Melanie's post, here are some fascinating satellite photos, and commentary below, about the extent of the fresh and turbid water in the Chesapeake.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=52169

Since 1967 there have only been two post-storm incidents which were worse.

Have a good weekend.

Peter
Nancy L 09/17/11 11:19 am Thanks,Peter, that was an interesting article.
Peter 09/17/11 02:07 pm Yes, amazing what is available online. See also:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishingreport/index.asp

How much of the silt is from natural gas drilling operations? This is a scary aspect of the current situation IMO.

http://blog.skytruth.org/2011/09/major-sediment-runoff-affecting.html

This morning I found some neat charts from turbidity monitors in the Chesapeake, which showed huge spikes as the Irene/Lee runoff came down, but I can't find them now.

Have a good weekend.

Melanie 09/18/11 08:56 pm Peter, these may be some of the charts you sawThe sediment is nearly all from built-up farm runoff that collects behind dams. They opened 43 of the 50 flood gates at the Conowingo and Lee's peak of 33.5' was it was only 3 feet below the levels Agnes produced, so the distinction of being third or even second is dubious. Those gates are so huge that all kinds of things pass through them with ease - dead livestock, propane tanks, dumpsters, trees, vehicles . . .

The Susquehanna which feeds the Chesapeake Bay starts up in Binghampton NY and runs down through Pennsylvania farmlands and Amish country before it hits the Conowingo Dam (and the two smaller dams upstream). While there are many things to admire about the Amish, their farming practices regarding fertilizer and sediment runoff leave much to be desired. Not that they are totally responsible, but they are a major contributor in this.

After Agnes came through in '67 and damn near took out the dam (pardon the pun) they've literally had to reinforce it and anchor it into what bedrock there is. The saying about the Susquehanna since it was first settled by Europeans was that it was a mile wide and 10 feet deep. And muddy. The sediment is impossible to remove because of how fine it is - the moment it gets disturbed it immediately goes into suspension. And that's not even mentioning the pollutants that have collected from upstream - from improper medical disposal, chemical runoff and radioactive discharge (remember 3 Mile Island?) That's in the mix as well. The assessment for the Bay right now is that it has been "badly bruised". The top part of the Bay has been dealt a very hard, silty blow that has probably wiped out 80% of our submerged vegetation, covered and thus effectively killed the oyster beds which are already struggling with two viruses and they don't expect to be pulling any crabs out for the rest of this year. Strangely enough, though, the fishing is doing OK. The other problem is that now the top have of the water is all fresh with the lower half being salty which is going to lead to worse anoxia problems than we already have. We are praying for several good windy days to get the layers mixed. Instead we are going to have more rain for the rest of the week.

Farm runoff/erosion is really the #1 problem, to the point that I don't even think natural gas drilling is even on our radar, but I will check on the drilling aspect and have an answer for you most likely by Tuesday.

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