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Record Rains Continue To Pummel Clam Populations

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After record setting rains in July, huge amounts of sediment and fresh water swept down the Susquehanna River. A few days ago, it hit harder.

"There was an 8 inch rainfall in upstate Pennsylvania, which continues to put lots and lots of fresh water into the Susquehanna River," said Chesapeake Bay Foundation chief scientist Doug Meyers.

The second huge plume in as many months is now working its way down the bay.

"It continues to pump fresh water into the bay, keeping salt water from ever coming back. This time of the year it should be a fairly salty bay. It's just not to be found." Myers said.

Watermen have been dealing with it since the first plume hit. Rob Newberry with the Delmarva Fisheries Association said with the amount of influx of fresh water, specifically from the Susquehanna, it is starting to kill clams at a rapid rate.

It is also impacting other marine life.

"I haven't seen no menhadden in three weeks because of the fresh water charge. Half the stuff you don't see is dying, it's dying on the bottom and you won't see it," said waterman Michael Eben.

It could also be impacting oysters, which reproduce this time of the year. To do that, they need warm salty water. Fresh water can keep that reproduction from happening.

"We're unclear until we do dome oyster surveys this fall, whether or not there was any reproduction this year," Myers said. "If not, it could hurt future oyster harvests and livelihoods,"

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