Quotable Quotes

The following statements represent assertions and stances put forth by various agency and organization representatives and individuals (emphasis added) related to the Conowingo Dam relicensing that are of particular interest to the Coalition.

Bay Journal writer Rona Kobell recently dismissed the issue of 85 + years of accumulated sediment as one of the “environmental bogeymen” related to the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts – along with the proposed phosphorus management tool and the stormwater fee.  The Bay Journal is published by Chesapeake Media Service, which receives substantial funding from government grants.

"What with all the assault-weapon and tax talk, neither [Lt.Governor Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan] has made the environment their area of focus.  But still, there has been plenty of time to discuss the three issues that I will call the environmental bogeymen: the sediment at Conowingo Dam, the phosphorus management tool, and the stormwater fee."


 - Rona Kobell

Midday on the Bay to highlight environment issues in MD governor's race
Dated October 13, 2014.
Bay Journal - Article_ Midday on the Bay[...]
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"In addition to the option to intervene, the FERC license cannot be issued without an MDE Water Quality Certification (WQC), which is a significant regulatory requirement in the decision-making process. The sediment issue, including the extent of Exelon's responsibility in addressing this issue, is the State's major concern and focus in the relicensing process. MDE will not issue a WQC unless the applicant can demonstrate that any impacts on water quality by the dam will be fully mitigated."


 - MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers, Ph.D.

MDE Sec. promises reservoir management
Dated December 3, 2013. Response letter from MDE to Coalition.
12-3-13 Response Letter from MDE to RFit[...]
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Brenda Davis, [the Program Manager for DNR's Blue Crab Program], cited numerous possible factors for the population decrease [of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab], including cold winters, possible toxic sediment from the Conowingo Dam, predation, and residual effects from Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene in 2011.


 - Brenda Davis, Program Manager, DNR Blue Crab Program

Panel discusses blue crab's decline
Dated September 23, 2014, Henley Moore, The Star Democrat.
Panel discusses blue crab's decline - Th[...]
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“The influence of the Susquehanna water, flowing out of New York and Pennsylvania, can extend far down the bay’s main stem, playing a role in low oxygen levels in all the western shore rivers down to Virginia’s Rappahannock.  A study of severe water pollution in Rock Creek, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, found that most of the problem was poor water quality entering the creek from the upper bay, not the water running from the relatively tine watershed of a creek.” (p. 94)


“…[t]here is a virtual time bomb ticking away behind the 110-foot-high dam at Conowingo, near the Susquehanna’s mouth.  The dam currently ‘traps’ 50-70 percent of the sediment washing downstream from Pennsylvania and New York… Since phosphorus tends to bind to soil particles, the dam also keeps some 40 percent of the river’s phosphorus load from washing to the Chesapeake.  In the next two to three decades that protection will end, as the reservoir behind Conowingo fills to the ‘equilibrium’ point, where it begins passing most of the sediment and phosphorus downstream


A loss of trapping at Conowingo would cause major problems for water quality in the upper bay and also for dredging the economically vital ship channels serving the Port of Baltimore.” (p. 97)


 - Tom Horton, Turning the Tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay

“The evidence presented in this report indicates that the predicted changes are not just a theoretical issue for future consideration, but are already underwayThese changes in the reservoirs are already overwhelming the progress being made to reduce constituent loads from the Susquehanna River watershed.  Therefore, efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs to the Chesapeake Bay will need to include consideration of the changes in the trapping and sediment entering, and scouring of sediment in, the reservoirs along with the management actions implemented upstream in the watershed.”  (page 13)


 - Robert M. Hirsch, Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey August 2012 Report
Dated August 2012, Robert M. Hirsch.
U.S. Geological Survey_ August 2012_ Rob[...]
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“Tropical Storm Lee provided a vivid demonstration of the need to take steps to head off what could be a catastrophic event causing immediate and enormous damage to our restoration processes. The time to address this threat is now.”


 - Governor Martin O'Malley, Press Release - Study on Sediment behind Conowingo Dam Launched

Press Release: Study on Sediment behind Conowingo Dam Launched
Dated September 27, 2011.
Study on Sediment behind Conowingo Dam L[...]
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“Lets face it…The whole [pollution diet] we have for the bay is based on Conowingo holding back these sediments.”


 - Herbert M. Sachs, MDE special projects coordinator and winner of MDE’s James B. Coulter Award in 2006


The picture isn’t pretty...” describing his findings that more sediment and nutrients are getting through than before – or than previously believed, and “The evidence [is that] things have changed.”


- Robert M. Hirsch, Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Conowingo Dam sediment buildup threatens Chesapeake Bay
Dated August 5, 2014, Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun.
Conowingo Dam sediment buildup threatens[...]
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