State Of The Severn To Detail River’s Health

Water quality on the Severn River was dramatically different this year. We’ve suffered through algae blooms, mud floods of sediment pollution and deluges of rain that significantly reduced the river’s salinity.

What’s it all mean for the health of our river? Our fisheries? Our oysters? Our children?

Nov. 20 — The State Of The Severn Report!

The public and press are invited to find out on Tuesday, Nov. 20, during Severn River Association’s monthly Educational Series Meeting.

Our special guest speaker will be Dr. Andrew Muller, associate professor of oceanography at the U.S. Naval Academy. The meeting is at Union Jack’s Pub in Parole. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Dr. Muller also runs the Water Quality Monitoring program on the Severn River that features a partnership between the Severn River Association and the Severn Riverkeeper. Citizen scientist volunteers from both groups have helped Dr. Muller collect the data he’ll use to produce his annual State Of The Severn Report.

Then it started raining, and raining, and raining again

There were plenty of unusual events to record in 2018. Early in the year, the river suffered through multiple algae blooms that produced red and a green tide infestations that reduced visibility to mere inches.

The deluges created a series of mud floods throughout the watershed that dumped tons of sediment pollution into the river and creeks.

Everywhere, clarity bottomed out as the river frequently turned coffee-colored, especially in the upper part of the Severn River.

Sadly, the closer the teams monitored to the source of the river at Severn Run, the browner the water became.

Salinity Levels Are Unusually Low This Year

This pollution came with an unusual influx of fresh water intrusions.  The river’s salinity levels are less than half of what they are in normal years.

With all the rain, our river rebounded with a resurgence of underwater grasses and the appearance of the dark false mmussel. The combination has helped dramatically improve clarity.

And, yet, there’s still a dead zone, an extended area of low-oxygen conditions that are unwelcoming, even fatal, to oysters, fish and crabs.

Each week, Dr. Muller sends out teams citizen scientists to record water column profiles of salinity, temperature, pH and oxygen levels at 16 stations in the river and creeks.

Dr. Muller will offer his analysis of the data and what it means for the health of the river.

He’ll also endeavor to identify some of the key highs and lows of this season’s monitoring discoveries.

What:   State Of The Severn River
When:  Tuesday, November 20. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Where: Union Jack’s of Annapolis, 2072 Somerville Rd., Annapolis, MD, 21401.

Arrive early and enjoy 1/2 priced burger night for meeting attendees.