Why does the harbor water smell?

The water in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is giving off a very fishy odor. Wondering why? If nutrient levels are high enough, warming waters can sustain increased numbers of microscopic plants or algae.  Nutrient runoff from our recent spring rains fueled a brown algae bloom in the inner harbor giving the water a mahogany color last week. Algae has a short life span, and as it dies oxygen is consumed and is no longer available for other organisms in the water column.  At this point, fish and other animals that cannot escape the low oxygen zones die.  These are commonly referred to as “dead zones” which cause fish kills, and the bad smell over the weekend. The bacteria then devours the dead fish killed by oxygen depletion, fueling more bad odors.

Some animals, like jellies require very little oxygen and manage to live through these dead zone events. This is part of the reason jellies populations are thriving in bodies of water around the world.

These excess nutrients that cause the algae blooms can come from a variety of sources including fertilizer, storm fort-mchenry-cleanup-webwater runoff, and even atmospheric deposition.  So what can be done about it?  The National Aquarium is actively working to improve the water quality of the Bay by restoring vital habitats like tidal wetlands.  These habitats remove excess nutrients, help prevent flooding and provide important habitat to the animals that live there.  You can volunteer – check it out!

3 Responses to “Why does the harbor water smell?”


  1. 1 Catherine June 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    no kidding.
    We visited this past weekend (May 31) and loved the aquarium but hated the smell! It was absolutely awful hanging out in the harbor area.

  2. 2 escort sevice May 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    It is very interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

    Anete Hakkinen

  3. 3 independent Kiev escort September 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Intresting aricles you public here.
    It will be intresting to read anything more concerning this article.
    Thanks for tell that information.
    With best regards Margo!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers

%d bloggers like this: