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7.3: Is Chesapeake Bay Dying a Slow Death?

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    Map of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

    Figure 3-1: The Chesapeake Bay watershed and land use map. Do you live in the watershed?

    Source: WHRC(link is external)

    By way of introduction, please view the power point presentation(link is external) on the problem of dead zones, hypoxia, eutrophication and the health of Chesapeake Bay. Then go to the assignment below to flesh out your knowledge. If you're having trouble viewing the PowerPoint, try the PDF. (admittedly, this ppt is a tad aged, but the trends stand and we will discuss updated data soon!)

    We think that this is a great focus for teaching about the oceans, primarily for teachers in the northeastern US, because it is "local," has food chain connections, and involves so many aspects of physical oceanography, nutrients and primary production, marine animals, environmental issues, fisheries--you name it! However, we think that oceans on both coasts experience many of the things in this presentation, so don't despair if you're on the west's great for you, too! And, there are so many resources and data sets available for students to work with.

    Activity 1

    After reading the first assigned article (Brattonetal2003(link is external)), which provides an historical overview of Chesapeake Bay hypoxia on the basis of the sedimentary record, and examining the power point presentation above, answer the following questions (in a file to be uploaded to the Canvas DropBox). You may simply provide a list of elements, when appropriate. Elaborate if you like.

    1. What factors contribute to hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay? How does each factor operate to exacerbate the major influence?
    2. Historically, when did hypoxia first develop in Chesapeake Bay? Was it extensive and when did it begin to more fully develop (see article by Bratton et al.)?
    3. What methods are used by "paleo-oceanographers" to reconstruct the history of hypoxia? What does each method or indicator really tell them? (again, reference the Bratton et al. paper)
    4. What are the consequences of Chesapeake Bay hypoxia? Be explicit regarding the many issues.
    5. What are the main things that need to be done to improve the "health" of Chesapeake Bay?
    6. Write a short summary of the current state of Chesapeake Bay. Emphasize the extent of improvements that have occurred, if any, over the past few years and the prospects for the near future. Assume that you are writing this for people in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. You might want to consult these sources for updated information on the state of the Bay. (here is the latest "bay barometer" from The Chesapeake Bay Program(link is external); you should also check out the Chesapeake Bay Foundation(link is external) website; each state also maintains a CB-oriented website. Maryland and Virginia are particularly good and those of us in California use The Bay Institute for all our bay health needs)
    7. Write a short summary of how would you appeal to the populace external to the Chesapeake Bay watershed? Why should they care about this issue.

    Submitting your work

    Please put your answers in a file and drop that in the dropbox on Canvas.

    Save your document as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file in the following format:
    L7_Activity1_AccessAccountID_LastName.doc (or .pages or .pdf)
    For example, student Elvis Aaron Presley's file would be named "L7_Activity1_eap1_presley.doc".

    Grading criteria

    See the grading rubric for specifics on how this assignment will be graded.

    This page titled 7.3: Is Chesapeake Bay Dying a Slow Death? is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Eliza Richardson (John A. Dutton: e-Education Institute) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.