The Delaware Bay Will Turn Blood Red This Week


delaware bay, new jersey, red dye, Rhodamine WT dye, hydrographic study
A hyperspectral image of a hydrographic dye dilution study which causes the tested water to turn blood-red. Photo credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego()

I had to wait to publish this due to April fools and all that fun we had the last week.  Did you know that killer whales are now listed as a sight to see in the C&D canal on Google?  It is amazing how far an April Fools joke can spread.  So, yes the upper Delaware bay really will run blood-red next week, and the reason why is rather cool.

New Jersey’s DEP will dye the river with Rhodamine WT dye in order to help the oyster populations.  This is part of a hydrographic dye dilution study to measure water flow and dispersion in waters used for harvesting shellfish.  This will occur twice next week and even though on the Jersey side of the bay, it could be seen on the Delaware side.  Application will happen during early morning high tides in portions of the Delaware Bay, Stow Creek and Mad Horse Creek. These areas will be dyed blood-red.  This area is directly across the upper bay from the Cedar Swamp WIldlife Area and below the Augustine Wildlife area.

Red Dye River Study – Yellowstone River – Glendive, Montana  

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No one knows how long this will discolor the water, but it is a harmless dye.  DEP Spokesman Larry Hajna said “This will be one of the largest dye tests in the history of the department and the first test will likely occur on April 10.  Both are weather-dependent.”   This study is being done in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  It will help determine if oyster beds need to be upgraded to protect the beds and to ensure the safety of shellfish brought to market.

I imagine this will also be good for the oyster aquaculturists as well, for placement of future aquaculture areas.  Either way this is a great way to study the upper bay and its ability to support oyster growth.  So don’t freak out if you happen to see blood-red waters on the Delaware side of the upper bay.  If this were summer we would be concerned it was a red tide.

Fish On!

Rich King



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