2018

An Archive of 2018

Legislative Action & Advocacy

April 19, 2018
Coalition Member Alan McCarthy of Cecil County wrote to Senator Ben Cardin requesting CCC inclusion in the next Chesapeake Bay Restoration Roundtable discussion.

March 7, 2018
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition submitted written testimony urging an unfavorable report on HB1455. General Counsel, Chip MacLeod, also traveled to Annapolis to give oral testimony on behalf of CCC. View the footage of the committee hearing here. HB1455 proposes to indefinitely prohibit the dredging of natural oyster shell from Man O'War Shoal.

February 27, 2018
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition submitted written testimony in support of SB926. General Counsel, Chip MacLeod, also traveled to Annapolis to give oral testimony on behalf of CCC. View the footage of the committee hearing here. SB926 gives priority to natural indigenous oyster shell as the preferred substrate in oyster restoration projects through the Chesapeake Bay.

Articles of Note

September 2018
Nauticus to Install First Seabin on the East Coast to Help Clean Up Elizabeth River
WTKR

Local Government Advisory Committee is Here to Help - Just Tell Us What You Need
Bay Journal

DEC Announces Two New Certified Climate Smart Communities
NYDEC

Program Restores Lives, Communities, the Chesapeake Bay
Bay Journal

Localities Unite to Tackle Large Stormwater Goals
Bay Journal

Countywide Stormwater Authority Draws Heat from Public, Concern about New "Tax"
York Daily Record

What this Summer's Rainfall Could Mean for the Bay
Chesapeake Bay Program

Wetlands Will Survive Rising Seas, But Only if We Let Them
EurekAlert!

Editorial: Wastewater Treatment Project Expensive, but Worthwhile

Carroll County Times

Editorial: Take Out the Dam Trash (CCC mention)
Kent County News

Hurricanes are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here's How
New York Times

Eelgrass Wasting Disease has New Enemies: Drones and Artificial Intelligence
Shorelines

Fishermen Worry Heavy Rains Could Affect Conowingo Dam Yet Again
WJZ 13 CBS Baltimore

"Pollution Diets": Federal Panel Plans Oyster Reef Restoration to Improve Chesapeake Bay Health
SouthsideDaily

Debris Washes Up on Fort Smallwood Park Beach, Forcing it to Close
Capital Gazette

Steady Rainfall Delivers Debris to Conowingo Dam
WBAL TV11

Amherst County Working on Project to Stabilize Sewer Pipe Near James River
ABC 13

Hurricane Florence, Already a Monster, is Due to Strengthen as 1 Million People are Told to Flee the US Coast
CNN

Patapsco River Dam Set for Demolition
Bay Journal

Drones to Track One of the Largest Dam Removals on the Eastern Seaboard
The Conversation

Bloede Dam Removal Begins
MDNR

Oligotrophication - A New, Hopeful Word for the Bay?
Southern Maryland Online

Washed Away? Torrential Rains Threaten Bay Restoration Gains
Bay Journal

August 2018
Opinion: Bay Needs Data Flow
The Times-Tribune

MD County Took on Runoff Challenge, Still Fell Short
Bay Journal

Raw Sewage Making Way from Erupting Manhole to Chesapeake Bay
WBAL TV11

A New Mapping Effort Will Provide a Closer Look at the Streams that Feed the Chesapeake Bay
Technical.ly

Predicting River Response to Dam Removal: What Happens Next?
NOAA Fisheries, New England/Mid-Atlantic

Chesapeake Bay Program Reports Watershed-Wide Progress Toward Environmental Education Goals
Chesapeake Bay Program

Pollution, Freshwater Killing Clams in Chesapeake Bay
WBOC

50 Million Gallons of Wastewater Dumped into the Susquehanna; Officials Say it Shouldn't Affect Local Drinking Water
LancasterOnline

Bay Scientists: Offshore Drilling Would Put Chesapeake Bay at Risk
Bay Journal

Water Pollution from Pa. May Propel Economic Sanctions Legislation
Maryland Matters

Conservation Strategy Improves Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Kent County News

Maryland Tells 3 Power Plants to Reduce Toxic Wastewater Discharges
Bay Journal

Port of Baltimore Honored for Environmental Efforts
The Daily Record

16 August 2018
Today marks the second day of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) summer conference, the focus of which is “Water, Water Everywhere” and presentations revolve around the health of Maryland waterways. Topics pertaining to infrastructure, treatment and regulations are being explored over the course of the four-day event. The Clean Chesapeake Coalition (CCC) is currently comprised of government officials from six Maryland counties: Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s. The Coalition’s objective is to pursue improvement to the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay in the most prudent and fiscally responsible manner – through research, coordination and advocacy. Since its inception in 2012, Coalition counties has fought to bring attention to the largest single point source of pollution to Bay waters, the reservoir behind the Conowingo Dam in the lower Susquehanna River.

Exelon, current owner of the Dam, is in the process of seeking a new, 46-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, as part of that process, Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act requires that the state of Maryland issue a Water Quality Certification (WQC) for the Dam. On April 27th of this year, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) did indeed issue the WQC, with special conditions - conditions that Exelon is now suing Maryland over in two courts and administratively. Exelon maintains that the Dam is not a source of pollution and that the conditions imposed by the State are impracticable and illegal.

While it may be true that the Dam does not itself create pollution, CCC contends that its operations have a severely negative impact on the health of the Bay and that the 14-mile reservoir behind the Dam, also the responsibility of Exelon, must be properly maintained so that the downstream cleanup progress made to date is not wiped out by the next major storm event. Most people are familiar with the damage caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 (among other high-profile storms). Now, the recent extensive coverage of the debris following storms in late July of this year has brought needed attention to the greatest imminent threat to the health of the Bay. The Coalition counties, however, did not need this ongoing disaster to remind them that the Conowingo Factor is crucial to the conversation about restoring the Bay. Earlier this year they commissioned a video, follow-up to their 2014 video, in order to help raise awareness and guide the discussion as FERC considers the re-license and Exelon decides whether to pick up the mantle of Bay stewardship.

While multiple environmental NGOs are saying that it will be months before we will know the impact of July’s storms on Bay restoration efforts, previous scientific studies offer several facts that are alarming even before we know the extent to which debris and sediment hurt oysters, crabs, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and other important marine plant and animal life. What do we know already?
•    The USGS reported that when Exelon opened 20+ spill gates on the 26th of July, 2018, the river flow exceeded 400,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).
•    At 400,000 cfs, at least two (2) million tons of accumulated sediment is scoured from the Conowingo Reservoir and dumped into the Upper Bay. This represents 133% of the average annual sediment load from the Susquehanna River…in a few short days.
•    For every 1,000 tons of sediment that comes from behind the Dam, an estimated 21 tons of nitrogen and 1.7 tons of phosphorus come with it.1
•    Therefore, a conservative estimate of the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that loaded into the Bay in shock proportions over a several day period last month is 42,000 tons of nitrogen and 3,400 tons of phosphorus.
•    To put this in perspective, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently released Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) planning targets include 45.78 million pounds of nitrogen per year (approximately 23,000 tons) for Maryland. In other words, over the course of several days late last month, two times the annual target for all of Maryland was loaded into the Bay at Conowingo.

During the recent midpoint assessment of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), aka pollution diet, the EPA made a bold decision – they agreed to develop an additional WIP specific to the Conowingo Dam. This calls for the watershed states, the District of Columbia and Exelon to formulate a plan to deal with this threat. Yet Exelon has repeatedly stated that their renewable energy plant should not be held responsible and points to the upstream states as the culpable parties. While there is no doubt that we all have a ways to go to meet TMDL goals, the Dam represents a ticking time bomb for past, current and future efforts that cannot be denied, downplayed or ignored.

Other environmental groups have called the Conowingo Dam a “red herring” and suggested that CCC members are simply trying to shirk responsibility for reducing local pollution.  This is simply not true, we have never said that this is an either/or proposition. What we have said, and hope to make clear from our latest video, is that in the event of another big storm (a 25-year storm has an 80% chance of occurring during the re-licensing period sought by Exelon), the billions that have already been spent to improve the quality of our country’s largest estuary will be washed down the proverbial toilet.  

To share our latest video on Facebook, please visit our Facebook page (the video is pinned to the top): https://www.facebook.com/CleanChesapeakeCoalition/
To view our latest video on YouTube, please use this link: https://youtu.be/LvK86Ripmc4

1 Ratio calculations based on Table 4-9 of the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment, USACOE and MDE. 2015.

Local Government Input Matters in Developing Cleanup Plans
Bay Journal

Md. Governor Reacts to Conowingo Dam Debris in Chesapeake Bay
WBOC

Goats Take a Bite Out of Invasive Plants in Whitehall Bay Project
Capital Gazette

The Clean Chesapeake Coalition wrote a letter to Gov. Hogan regarding his recent re-election as Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council and expressing concern that the Chesapeake Bay Commission's executive director is downplaying the impact of the Conowingo Dam on Bay health.

The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and the Secretary of the Environment wrote a letter to the Exelon Generation CEO requesting help with cleaning up the debris from July's storms.
Maryland Officials Ask Conowingo Dam Owner Exelon to Help in 'Critical Moment' for Chesapeake Bay Pollution

Maryland Officials Criticize Upstream States for Bay Debris

July 2018
The situation up at Conowingo is bad and it looks as if it will be getting worse. As of 8:30 this morning, July 25, 2018, Exelon's Conowingo Spill Hotline (877.457.2525) was reporting 12 gates open and 228,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of discharge. The recording went on to say that they anticipate having 13-17 gates open over the next 8 hours. As we all know, the scouring that is so detrimental to or marine life in the Bay happens at 100,000 cfs.

At 8:30 this morning, the USGS was reporting the gage height at 22.45 feet; flood stage is 23.5 feet. You can be sure we're monitoring this issue through all available means, including NOAA's National Weather Service.

Conowingo 7.25 Chip
Photo Courtesy of Chip MacLeod. Taken at noon on July 25, 2018 at Conowngo Dam.

Businesses Evacuated, Bridges Closed as Jones Falls Rises
Baltimore Brew

Cut in Chesapeake Bay Pollution Enforcement Headed to Senate
Delmarva Now

EXCLUSIVE: DPW Caught Dumping Chlorinated Water into the Jones Falls
Baltimore Brew

Chesapeake Partnership Exceeds its 2017 Pollution Reduction Goals
Delmarva Now

Our Say: Finally, Anne Arundel's Watershed Program Gets to the Good Stuff
Capital Gazette

Ellicott City School Adding Garden to Help Clean Water Flowing to the Bay
Baltimore Sun

DEP Prposes to Improve Environmental Justice Public Participation Process, Invites Public Comment
PA Dept. of Environmnetal Protection

Stormwater Management Projects Earn DNR Grants
Cecil Whig

Ellicott City Officials Reflect on How to Weather Future Storms
Bay Journal

Exelon Sues MD, Calls Conowingo Requirements an "Unfair Burden"
Bay Journal

Putting Roads on a Reduced-Salt Diet Also Healthy for Nearby Streams
Bay Journal

Cardin, Van Hollen Secure $5 Million to Clean Up Bay
The Star Democrat

National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management
NOAA Fisheries

Oligotrophication! A Big Word for Even Bigger News, a Bay Comeback
Bay Journal

$22M Awarded to Chesapeake Bay Restoration Projects
The Bay Net

Cambridge is for Clean Water
The Star Democrat

WVU Researcher's Method Can Stop Nutrient Runoff Could Help Create an Industry in the Mountain State
The Register-Herald

June 2018
Ag Faces New Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Markers
American Agriculturist

Hogan Administration Awards $22 Million for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Projects
Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

NASA Studying Air Pollution Over Maryland Waterways
WJZ CBS Baltimore

Researcher Looking to Improve Sustainability, Water Quality
Williamson Daily News

By the Numbers: 1,700
Chesapeake Bay Program

Costs Associated with Proposed York County Stormwater Authority Unknown
York Dispatch

800 Million Tons of Blue Carbon May Lie Buried in US Tidal Wetlands
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Assateague State Park Shoreline Project Begins
Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Clean Water and the Chesapeake Bay
Maryland Dept. of the Environment

Larger-than-Average Summer ‘Dead Zone’ Forecast for 2018 after Wet Spring
EurekAlert!

WIP Plans out Phase Three
The Star Democrat

Update: Officials Meet for 2025 Watershed Implementation Plan Phase III
47 ABC

Judge Calls on Maryland to Reverse Eastern Shore Poultry Permit
Bay Journal

Army Corps Rejects Request to Fund Maryland Oyster Restoration
Bay Journal

Environmental Groups Appeal Maryland's Clean Water Certification for Conowingo Dam
Waterkeepers Chesapeake

Public Sessions Focus on Flooding, Pollution in York County
York (Pa.) Dispatch

The Interdependence of Land and Water Protection
Saving Land

‘Stopping Rules’ Would Say When it’s Time to Shift from Debating to Acting
Bay Journal

Maryland Invites Input on Next Phase of Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
Bay Journal

Inside Pennsylvania’s Strategy for Healthier Local Streams in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
PA Dept. of Environmental Protection

Maryland Officials Press EPA to Reconsider Decision on Upwind Air Pollution, Threaten Lawsuit
Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Underreports Volume of Seawge Dumped into the Jones Falls
Baltimore Brew

Data the New Driver in Conservation Decisions Regarding Bay
Governing

Maryland Environment Secretary Grumbles State on EPA's Proposed Denial of Maryland Department of the Environment's Clean Air Act Petition
MDE

May 2018
Chesapeake Region Unlikely to Meet 2025 Bay Cleanup Goals Unless it Picks up the Pace
Bay Journal

Report: Chesapeake Bay Improving but Huge Challenges Remain
The Star Democrat

Amid Discussion of Delay, CBF Releases its 2017 Midpoint Assessmemt
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

After 2nd Major Flood in 2 Years, Maryland City Ponders Whether to Rebuild Again
Governing

Why Environmental Impact Bonds are Catching On
Governing

Groundwater Injections Combat Bay Pollution, Rising Seas
Storm Water Soltions

Look at Impacts on Waterways before Wading into Land Use Decisions
Bay Journal

Seekers for Grants from James River Mitigation Funds Told to Think Big
Bay Journal

The Clean Chesapeake Coalition issued a statement following the MDE issuance of a WQC...with special conditions...to Exelon. Read their release here.

While Locals Herald Conowingo Dam Action, Concerns Continue
Cecil Whig

Maryland Officials Investigate Fish Kill in Baltimore Harbor
The Washington Post

Op-Ed: Growing Signs of a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay
The Baltimore Sun

ShoreRivers Highlights Treatment Projects to Improve Sassafras
Cecil Whig

April 2018
Chesapeake Bay Funding for Agricultural Cleanup Could Land in Farm Bill
Delmarva Now

Underwater Grasses in Bay Experience Record Growth for 3rd Year
Chesapeake Bay Program

UMCES Professor Jeffrey Cornwell Receives Highest University Award
Chestertown Spy

Op-Ed: Where are CBF and CCA?
Chestertown Spy

Wolf Administration Joins in Tree Planting Event
PA Dept. of Environmental Protection

Op-Ed: Earth Day is Meaningless without Bipartisan Protection Efforts
Baltimore Sun

Mid-Atlantic 4R Nutrient Stewardship Association Formation Announced
Cape Gazette

March 2018
A Growing Respect: Plain Sect Become more Involved in Bay Conversation
Bay Journal

State's High Court to Hear Frederick County Challenge to Stormwater Mandates
The Frederick News-Post