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The Conowingo Dam and Chesapeake Bay Water Quality

Published: January 15, 2013

Each year, the Susquehanna River provides the Bay with one-quarter of its sediment loads. Working to curb these loads are three large reservoirs located along the lower portion of the river, each of which sits behind a dam. These sediment-trapping reservoirs have served as effective “pollution gates” for three-quarters of a century. However, recent studies have drawn attention to their changing efficiency, with special attention paid to those behind the Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station (or Conowingo Dam) in Havre de Grace, Md.

In September 2011, the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment (LSRWA) team was formed to evaluate the sediment management options for all of the dams on the Lower Susquehanna River. The team has entered into a three-year, $1.4 million study led by the Army Corps of Engineers, and expects to recommend a draft list of sediment management strategies in 2013.

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