Hypoxia and salinity in Virginia estuaries
- Cite this article as:
- Kuo, A.Y. & Neilson, B.J. Estuaries (1987) 10: 277. doi:10.2307/1351884
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Hypoxia, periods of reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations, has been observed not only in the Chesapeake Bay but also in the deeper waters of the Virginia estuaries that are tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. When water temperature exceeded 20°C, minimum oxygen concentrations were observed to be <50% of saturation concentrations in 75%, 50% and 2% of the surveys in the estuaries of the Rappahannock, York and James rivers, respectively. The observation that hypoxia rarely occurred in the James River is surprising, given the fact that it receives the greatest amount of wastewater. Analysis of the oxygen budgets in these estuaries indicates that the variations in the frequency, duration, and severity of hypoxia are related to the net movement of bottom waters. This relationship has significant implications for the management of water quality and marine fisheries.