Recent Coastal Bays Highlights: 

View Current Water Quality Conditions

Four continuous monitors are deployed in Bishopville Prong, Grey's Creek, Newport Creek, and at Public Landing. These monitors are used to collect water quality data (dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a, temperature, salinity, and pH) every 15 minutes. Continuous monitoring data allows scientists to learn more about these systems, and discern the links between water quality, harmful algae blooms, and fish kills.  In addition, monthly field data from 15 stations (out of 45 DNR sites in the Coastal Bays) are available to view.

More Information

Latest News and Reports:

Current  conditions at Public Landing
Current conditions on Bishopville Prong
Current conditions on Grey's Creek
Current conditions on Newport Creek
Water Quality Mapping
 State of the  Bays
 Ecosystem health assessment
Harmful algae blooms
Continuous monitoring report
DNR activities in the Coastal Bays
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2004 State of the Coastal Bays report available here! (Adobe Acrobat file 12MB)

Nutrient Levels Increasing in the Southern Coastal Bays

While most stations in the southern Coastal Bays met seagrass objectives for total nitrogen (slightly less for total phosphorus) in the 2004 State of the Bays report, recently analyzed trends indicate that concentrations of these nutrients may be on the rise. Non-linear curves applied to nutrient data collected by the National Park Service at Assateague National Seashore show many stations with significant changes in trend direction.

Water Mapping Data Available for Coastal Bays

August 18, 2005 - In partnership with the University of Maryland, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, MD DNR has conducted monthly water quality mapping in all of the Coastal Bays since April 2005. Water quality mapping data from 2003 through 2005 is available online.

While traditional monitoring programs collect monthly data at a small number of fixed sampling locations, mapping technology allows for intensive surveying of an entire waterbody through a system of shipboard water quality probes. These probes measure spatial position, water depth, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (clarity of the water), and chlorophyll (indicator of plankton concentrations) from a flow-through stream of water collected near the water bodyís surface. This system allows data to be collected rapidly (approximately every 4 seconds) and while the boat is traveling at speeds up to 20 knots.

Traditional monitoring programs are needed to provide a good baseline for watershed assessment and long-term trends, while mapping technology is being used to help better evaluate the entire system and pick up small-scale spatial gradients that are critical habitat for seagrasses and other living resources.

Harmful Algae Blooms

Algae are a natural and critical part of our Chesapeake and Coastal Bays ecosystems. Algae, like land plants, capture the sunís energy and support the food web that leads to fish and shellfish. Algae may become harmful if they occur in an unnaturally high abundance or if they produce a toxin. Learn more about Harmful Algae in Maryland and potentially harmful algae blooms in the Coastal Bays.

To report suspected harmful algal blooms, please call the Department of Natural Resources, Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division at (410) 260-8630 during normal business hours. If there are fish kills, fish health, or human health concerns associated with the observed algal bloom, please contact the Fish Health Hotline at (877) 224-7229 at any time.

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This page was updated on 12/12/2011.