Rivers Deliver Record Flow to the Cheseapeake Bay in 1996

January 03, 1997


Total freshwater inflow into the Chesapeake Bay during 1996 was the highest ever recorded, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS scientists said that rivers and streams carried a combined average flow of 87.5 billion gallons of water per day (bgd) into the Bay during the past year, about 1.7 times the long-term normal. Previous record high was 85.1 bgd in 1972, the year of Hurricane Agnes.

The high flows also carried increased amounts of sediment, nutrients, and other chemicals that affected the water quality and living resources of the Bay. The environmental effects could have been much worse, however, according to preliminary information collected by the agencies involved in the cooperative Chesapeake Bay Program.

"The repeated high waters and floods of 1996 caused obvious and serious economic damage throughout the upstream Chesapeake basin. Less well understood are the environmental effects of those record inflows to the Bay itself," according to Scott Phillips, coordinator of the USGS Chesapeake Bay effort, Towson, Md.

"Although the record freshwater inflows damaged and caused localized losses to vegetation and oyster beds, the total impact on the Bay ecosystem probably did not match the damage from the previous record flow year of 1972," Phillips said.

"Two primary factors -- the timing of the large storms and the success of management actions to reduce nutrients entering the Bay -- lessened the potential effects of the high flows," the USGS spokesman said.

These favorable factors include: Chesapeake Bay Program agencies reported that high flows in 1996 affected the Bay in several ways:

US Geological Survey

Related Water Articles from Brightsurf:

Transport of water to mars' upper atmosphere dominates planet's water loss to space
Instead of its scarce atmospheric water being confined in Mars' lower atmosphere, a new study finds evidence that water on Mars is directly transported to the upper atmosphere, where it is converted to atomic hydrogen that escapes to space.

Water striders learn from experience how to jump up safely from water surface
Water striders jump upwards from the water surface without breaking it.

'Pregnancy test for water' delivers fast, easy results on water quality
A new platform technology can assess water safety and quality with just a single drop and a few minutes.

Something in the water
Between 2015 and 2016, Brazil suffered from an epidemic outbreak of the Zika virus, whose infections occurred throughout the country states.

Researchers create new tools to monitor water quality, measure water insecurity
A wife-husband team will present both high-tech and low-tech solutions for improving water security at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Seattle on Sunday, Feb.

The shape of water: What water molecules look like on the surface of materials
Water is a familiar substance that is present virtually everywhere.

Water, water everywhere -- and it's weirder than you think
Researchers at The University of Tokyo show that liquid water has 2 distinct molecular arrangements: tetrahedral and non-tetrahedral.

What's in your water?
Mixing drinking water with chlorine, the United States' most common method of disinfecting drinking water, creates previously unidentified toxic byproducts, says Carsten Prasse from Johns Hopkins University and his collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley and Switzerland.

How we transport water in our bodies inspires new water filtration method
A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations.

Source water key to bacterial water safety in remote Northern Australia
In the wet-dry topics of Australia, drinking water in remote communities is often sourced from groundwater bores.

Read More: Water News and Water Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.