Fall Weather Signals Change
We often think of fall as a time of diminishing resources. Days get shorter. Storms roll through, bringing rain and strong northwest winds. Temperatures fall. But for animals in and around the Chesapeake, autumn is often a time of plenty. In the Bay, rain, wind and falling temperatures add oxygen to the water. Cooling makes the surface water sink, forcing bottom water to the surface, bringing food and baitfish to the top. This “turnover” is sometimes visible, because the turbulence brings sediment to the water surface. Fish like striped bass chase baitfish throughout the water column, feeding heavily to fatten up for the winter. Loons and other migratory birds passing through the Bay to their winter feeding grounds feed on small fish, as well.
Viewer Tip: Follow these seasonal changes in the water by calling NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) at 1-877-BUOYBAY or exploring its web site, www.buoybay.org. This system of nine “smart buoys” stretches from Norfolk to the mouth of the Susquehanna River, so it will give you a big picture of how the Chesapeake changes from summer to fall to winter.
This information is provided by Restore America’s Estuaries. Learn more at www.estuaries.org.
(Source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation; www.cbf.org.)