This Week in the Watershed: A Big Dam Problem

Conowingo-Lee

It's not often you can see water pollution from space. But the well-known image above taken after Tropical Storm Lee struck the region in 2011 has a long, complicated story to tell.

For decades, the Conowingo Dam trapped much of the pollution from the Susquehanna River before it reached the Chesapeake Bay. Now the pool behind the dam has filled up and pollution is spilling through, degrading water quality downstream and in the Bay. The impact is seen most after storms, such as Tropical Storm Lee.

But good news came for the Bay last Friday, as the State of Maryland imposed a set of stringent environmental regulations on Exelon, the operator of Conowingo Dam. Under this permit, Exelon is required to reduce water pollution that flows from the dam and improve downstream habitat. These steps are justified to protect the health of the Chesapeake while also giving Exelon clearly defined options for fulfilling its clean-up responsibilities.

These regulations won't stop pollution overflowing into the Bay overnight. The ultimate solution is stopping pollution at its source upstream in the Susquehanna River. This is where restoration efforts such as the recently announced Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will make an impact. But the dam itself also bears responsibility.

With Exelon likely to appeal the State's ruling, it's critical Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of the Environment know you support his decision for strong environmental regulations at Conowingo Dam. Our health, economy, and Bay depend on the strong leadership of our State Government.

Take a moment to thank Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of the Environment for holding Exelon accountable and keeping our Bay cleanup efforts on track!

This Week in the Watershed: Dam Problems, Dead Fish, and a Soggy Success

  • Two thumbs up to this editorial exposing how the stormwater remediation fee is making a direct impact on local water quality. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • Trees play a critical role in restoring the Keystone State's rivers and streams, writes CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. (Bay Journal)
  • A coalition of groups, led by CBF, is planning to plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania over the next seven years. (Patriot News—PA) BONUS: CBF Press Release
  • Maryland officials are investigating a large fish kill in Baltimore Harbor. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • As Congress starts debates on the Farm Bill, the massive legislation will have major implications on cleanup efforts for the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. (Bay Journal)
  • Arbor Day was observed in full force in the city of Lancaster, as a rainy day didn't stop the largest one-day tree planting in city history. (Lancaster Online—PA)
  • The Maryland Department of the Environment announced a water quality certification with many environmental stipulations to Exelon, the operator of Conowingo Dam. (Bay Journal) BONUS: CBF Statement

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

May 16

  • Virginia Beach, VA: Join us for a boat trip on the Lynnhaven River. Examine what is living in this diverse and dynamic part of the Chesapeake Bay, and learn about the recovery of the oyster population in the Lynnhaven. Register here!
  • Annapolis, MD: Come on board for a sail on our historic skipjack the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the oyster stocks to save the Bay. Register here!

May 19

  • Annapolis, MD: Come on board for a sail on our historic skipjack the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the oyster stocks to save the Bay. Register here!

May 30

  • Annapolis, MD: Come on board for a sail on our historic skipjack the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the oyster stocks to save the Bay. Register here!

May 31

  • Easton, MD: Join us for a screening of High Tide in Dorchester, a film which explores the impacts of climate change on our coastal communities. A cash bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres are available and the filmmaker will speak following the screening. Learn more and register!

June 2

  • Throughout Virginia: Join us for the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day! One of the largest volunteer efforts in Virginia, roughly 6,000 volunteers each year remove more than 100,000 pounds of harmful debris from Virginia's waterways and shorelines. With sites all across the Commonwealth, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Learn more and register!
  • Annapolis, MD: Join us out on the water for a morning of fishing, learning, and fun! Spend the morning aboard the Marguerite in search of whatever is biting! Our experienced crew will provide all the knowledge and equipment necessary—just bring your enthusiasm! Register here!
  • Annapolis, MD: Come on board for a sail on our historic skipjack the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the oyster stocks to save the Bay. Register here!
  • Columbia, PA: High school students from across the Keystone State team up in pairs of two to test their canoeing skills against other high school teams. This year's event will be part of the Riverlands Trail Festival and Lancaster Water Week. In addition to the canoeing competition, there will be educational exhibits, live music, and an awards ceremony. Register here!

June 9

  • Annapolis, MD: Join us for a party with a purpose at the 13th annual Bands in the Sand! Enjoy amazing live music, cool drinks, and awesome grilled food on the water's edge. Buy your tickets now!

June 16

  • Talbot County, MD: Hit the water and join us for a paddle on Harris Creek. Witness the abundant wildlife and beautiful expanses of tidal marsh and learn about the site of the largest oyster restoration project in the United States. Register here!
Drew Robinson 90x110

Drew Robinson

Digital Advocacy and Outreach Manager, CBF

drobinson@cbf.org

Issues in this Post

Polluted Runoff   Advocate   Conowingo Dam and Chesapeake Bay   Conservation   Dead Zones   Events   Keystone Ten Million Trees Partnership   Polluted Runoff   Restore   The Susquehanna River   Water Quality   CBF in Maryland   CBF in Virginia   Eastern Shore Office   Federal Affairs Office   Hampton Roads Office   Maryland Office, Annapolis   Pennsylvania Office   Virginia Office, Richmond  




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