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The Summer 2005 ecological forecast for Chesapeake Bay, conducted in collaboration between Ecocheck (NOAA-UMCES Partnership) and the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP), recently concluded. This first attempt has shown how challenging it is to provide an accurate ecological forecast, with good, fair and poor accuracy this year. Based on spring nutrient loads delivered to the Bay, mainstem anoxic volume was predicted to be the fourth largest on record. However, the anoxic volume was larger than predicted, with the largest ever summer average anoxic volume occurring. Fortunately, the Potomac River harmful algal bloom forecast was incorrect, with only relatively minor concentrations of Microcystis being reported. As predicted, the low salinity aquatic grass beds expanded this summer, mostly on the Susquehanna flats. Detailed explanations of the summer conditions in relation to the forecasts will be released by the CBP in November. With the conclusion of this year’s forecast, Ecocheck is now working with the Chesapeake Bay Program to produce an annual assessment of restoration activities and ecological health. These reports will be released by the CBP in January and March of next year.
Further information: www.ian.umces.edu