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Chesapeake Bay on the mend after violent storms

Saturday - 9/24/2011, 1:57pm  ET

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Two big storms that hit one right after the other a few weeks back did a good job of stirring up the Chesapeake Bay.

In addition to generating winds that knocked down trees and power lines, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee brought massive rains and floods.

Some scientists predicted large amounts of sediment and debris from the flood-swollen Susquehanna River would, by now, be moving through the bay and toward the ocean.

But this week, researchers checking water quality near the mouth of the bay found clearer water than expected.

"It's kind of odd, to be honest," John Donat, who directs Old Dominion University's water quality lab, told the Virginian-Pilot.

"I don't think it'll impact Virginia much at all, that's my gut reaction right now," said Michael Ford with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

During a recent trip to the Bay Bridge with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the water still looked muddy. But biologists said the bay appeared to be recovering, at least in Maryland.

Water quality monitoring will continue in both Maryland and Virginia. Currently, 30 sites around the Chesapeake Bay are continuously monitored every 15 minutes.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)