What’s Happening Upstream – Above the Dam

PA Coalition Spells Out Key Conservaton Issues Before Election
October 11, 2018, Bay Journal

CCC General Counsel, Chip MacLeod, talks with Andrew Langer from WBAL NewsRadio 1090 about the Conowingo Dam. Click here to download the discussion.
July 27, 2018

Exelon Appeals Conowingo Order: Imposed Cleanup "Unfair Burdern"
June 1, 2018, Maryland Association of Counties: Conduit Street

In a disappointing (though not unexpected) turn of events, Exelon has chosen to respond to the Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE) Water Quality Certification (WQC) with a storm of litigation. In addition to the letter itself, we have provided links to Exhibit A: Complaint in the U.S. District Court, Exhibit B: Administrative Appeal to MDE and Exhibit C: Complaint for Mandamus in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
May 25, 2018

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE Files Conditional Water Quality Certification (WQC) with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
May 8, 2018

Hogan Calls for Conowingo Cleanup
May 1, 2018, Kent County News

While Locals Herald Conowingo Dam Action, Concerns Continue
May 1, 2018 Cecil Whig

The Clean Chesapeake Coalition issued a statement following the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issuance of a Water Quality Certification...with special conditions...to Exelon. Read the MDE release here.

Wolf Administration Joins in Tree Planting Event
April 21, 2018, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Lessons from Past, Tools for Future Focus of Meeting on Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s Plan to Clean Up Local Waters in Chesapeake Bay Watershed
August 4 2017, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

New Bay Plan in Works
Lancaster (Pa.) Farming

Three Mile Island to close in 2019, Exelon says
May 30, 2017 York (Pa.) Daily Record

Inspectors find most PA farms, while not all in compliance, are trying
May 2, 2017, Bay Journal

Chesapeake Bay cleanup should concern all Pennsylvanians
April 28, 2017 The (State College, Pa.) Centre Daily Times

Local officials spend a lot of time thinking about sewage — here's why
December 9, 2015, Rachel Bunn, The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News

Study finds causes for mutant bass in Susquehanna River
December 15, 2015, Don Hopey, The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette

What about Pennsylvania?
June 15, 2015, The Baltimore Sun

EPA PA Falling Far Behind Bay Waterways Cleanup Plan
June 15, 2015, The (Boulder, Colo,) Public News Service 

Pennsylvania lags behind in Chesapeake cleanup
June 14, 2015, John Hayes, The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette

Chemical fire contaminants to hit Susquehanna River by Saturday morning, DEP says
June 12, 2015, Candy Woodall, PennLive 

EPA review finds Pennsylvania significantly off track to meet Bay goals
June 12, 2015, Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal 

Susquehanna River's nitrogen levels threatening Chesapeake Bay
May 29, 2015, Rebecca Lessner

Lancaster enlists Wolf administration in EPA stormwater battle
May 28, 2015, Dan Nephin, Lancaster (PA) Online 

U.S. Senate Letter to USDA Secretary
May 19, 2015

Anglers concerned after bass caught in Susquehanna River tests positive for cancer
May 6, 2015, Peggy Lee, WNEP 16 TV

Smallmouth Bass with Cancer caught in Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River
May 5, 2015, Indian Country Today Media Network

Pennsylvania Watershed Improvement Act would encourage competitive bidding
April 21, 2015, Pennsylvania Daily Reports

PA Auditor General Report urges new efforts for Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction
April 17, 2015, Business Wire

Clarks Summit receives EPA notice on stormwater issues
April 15, 2015, Brendan Gibbs, The Times Tribune

Pennsylvania farms damaging Chesapeake
March 24, 2015, Don Hopey, The Morning Call

EPA gives poor marks to Pa. on protecting Chesapeake Bay watershed
March 23, 2015, Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

EPA warns Pennsylvania it is coming up short in making sure farmers have anti-runoff plans
March 17, 2015, Ad Crable, Lancaster Online

Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Respond to EPA Assessment of Pennsylvania's Animal Agriculture Program
March 17, 2015, PRNewsWire.com

CBF: New EPA Report Examines State Oversight Of Agriculture Programs in PA
March 16, 2015, NorthCentralPA.com

Scum on the Susquehanna
February 24, 2015, Nikki Krize, WNEP16

EPA reaches $82 million settlement with Harrisburg, Capital Region Water
February 18, 2015, Jim Boyle, The Pennsylvania Record

EPA settles CWA violations with PA's Harrisburg and Capital Region Water
February 16, 2015, WaterWorld

EPA, DEP Proposed Agreement To Resolve Some Harrisburg Clean Water Act Violations
February 11, 2015, NorthcentralPA.com

State could be ready to rule if Susquehanna is "sick" by this summer
December 30, 2014, Ad Crable, Lancaster Online

2014 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report
December 2014

Contamination leads to catfish advisory, more scrutiny of Susquehanna River
December 29, 2014, Wallace McKelvey, PennLive

CBF-PA Statement on Gov. Corbett Signing Anti-Buffer Bill
October 22, 2014, NorthcentralPA.com

Outdoors: Conservation groups losing battle against Clean Streams Act
October 16, 2014, Bob Marchio, YDR.com

Stream buffer bill wins final OK
October 16, 2014, Robert Swift, Harrisburg Bureau Chief

PA General Assembly weakens protection for high quality streams
October 15, 2014, Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal

PA General Assembly weakens protection for high quality streams
October 15, 2015, Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal

CBF-PA: In major clean water set-back, House Committee reports out anti-buffer bill
September 15, 2014, PA Environment Digest in Gas Industry

Official calls feds into fish fight
September 7, 2014, John Finnerty, The Daily Item

Let the River Run Wild
September 7, 2014, John Waldman, Karin E. Limburg and Amy Roe, The New York Times

Chesapeake Bay Foundation - PA Launches Clean Water for The Keystone State Campaign
August 26, 2014, David E. Hess, PA Environment Digest

Lessening pollution: Officials say they face challenges in pursuit
July 30, 2014, Daniel Walmer, The Sentinel

A sick river: Susquehanna should be declared 'impaired'
July 30, 2014, Intelligencer Journal Editorial

CBF-PA to launch new Watershed Cleanup Education
July 29, 2013, Feed: PA Environment Digest in Gas Industry, NorthcentralPA.com

Fish Agency calls for crackdown on ag-related phosphorus in Susquehanna
July 29, 2014, Ad Crable, Lancaster Online

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Letter to EPA Region III Administrator
Dated July 28, 2014. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission writes to EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin requesting more action by EPA to address pollution loading to Susquehanna River.

While the state of Maryland aggressively implements the flawed Bay TMDL (pollution diet) through costly mandates on local governments and increased taxes and fees, our upstream watershed neighbor and largest source of Bay pollution fiddles.  Reports of significant progress in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania towards reducing pollution in the Susquehanna River that ultimately finds its way into the Chesapeake Bay are isolated and overstated.  The media accounts listed and linked here highlight just how little progress is being made above the Conowingo Dam to save the Bay.  As you review these articles or any account of environmental problems with the Susquehanna River, be ever mindful of these basic facts:

  • water flows downhill;
  • more than 50% of the freshwater into the Bay comes from the Susquehanna River;
  • the most significant stormwater management pond in the Bay watershed (the Conowingo Dam reservoir) has lost its capacity to trap Susquehanna River nutrients and sediment; and
  • there is no responsible party, plan or funding to dredge or otherwise address the 84+ years of nutrients and sediments accumulated above the Dam in order to regain trapping capacity.

Ten Worst States for Water Pollution
July 11, 2014, Sara Jerome, Wateronline.com

Intersex fish found in three Pennsylvania river basins
June 30, 2014, Chesapeake Bay News

Chemically impacted smallmouth bass found in more Pennsylvania waters, U.S. Geological Survey reports
June 30, 2014, Marcus Schneck, Penn Live

Toomey, Thompson join against EPA 'overreach' in watershed
June 24, 2014, Marcie Schellhammer, The Bradford Era

Pa. and the Bay
June 20, 2014, The Tribune-Review

Sick smallmouth bass spur effort to seek impaired status for Susquehanna
June 8, 2013, Roba Kobel, Bay Journal

The Susquehanna River - too big to ail?
June 17, 2013, Patriot-News Editorial Board, Penn Live

Susquehanna Watershed Nutrient Loading a Critical Concern, In Midst of EPA Report
May 14, 2013, Business Wire

County agency declines role in Speedwell Forge sediment cleanup
May 14, 2013, Laura Knowles, Lancaster Online

For a collection of articles on the issues involved above the Conowingo Dam, click here for Lancaster Online's relevant database.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has zealously advocated for an increase in restoration efforts of the Lower Susquehanna's water quality.  Click here to visit their website to gain insight on this issue, including efforts by the PFBC to engage their fellow Pennsylvania and federal partners.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Boundary
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Boundary. Courtesy USGS Fact Sheet FS 2006-3046.

A satellite view of the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA, on September 10 shows the high levels of sediment that are being carried toward Chesapeake Bay. Courtesy: Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

The Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna, joined by the Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of 18 conservation groups throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, petitioned for intervention with FERC for the Conowingo Dam relicensing.  The Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna's, joined by the Waterkeepers Chesapeake, motion to intervene can be seen here.  The article below provides a summary of their filing:

Seeking to lessen impacts of the Conowingo Dam on the bay
York Daily Record, Michael Helfrich, July 19, 2013

aqua susquehanna 21sep04
High suspended-sediment concentrations after Hurricane Ivan (September, 2004). NASA Terra satellite image taken September 21, 2004, shortly after Hurricane Ivan hit the Chesapeake Bay.

Flooding in the Susquehanna River Watershed

Click here to learn more about the historical repeat flooding incidents inflicting the Susquehanna River Watershed. Tropical Storm Agnes (1972) set the record crest for the Susquehanna River at 32.57 feet. Tropical Storm Lee (September 10, 2011) had a crest of 26.2 feet, which is the fourth highest on record.

sediment sources in the Bay watershed fig 1

Courtesy of USGS "Sediment Sources and Transport in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed".