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Chesapeake Bay Program Says 2011 Oxygen Levels Off

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Chesapeake Bay Program says oxygen levels in the bay dropped last year, with just about a third of the waterway meeting summer standards.

Officials with the regional partnership say the drop is not surprising considering last year’s wet weather. The bay program says oxygen levels dropped 4 percent from the year before and were almost half the levels recorded a decade earlier.

A wet spring and fall storms washed pollution into the bay, spurring algae blooms that lower oxygen levels when blooms die off and decompose. That can lead to dead zones where oxygen levels are too low for many species to survive.

Last year’s wet weather is also being blamed for large algae blooms this spring that have led to fish deaths in the middle bay.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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