What's Happening Above the Dam Beyond the Reservoirs

Political Cartoon by Rick Kollinger

Conowingo Dam Hotlines

Conowingo Spill Hotline (877) 457-2525 - For information on the number of crest gates open and peak river flows.

Conowingo Generation Hotline (888) 457-4076 - For information on the number of units operating and Conowingo Pond elevations.

What’s Happening Upstream – Above the Dam


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
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
Dated May 19, 2015.
Cardin-Casey USDA-NRCS TMDL 5-19-15.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [551.7 KB]

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
Adobe Acrobat document [2.0 MB]

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 write to EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin requesting more action by EPA to address pollution loading to Susquehanna River.
PA Fish Boat Comm ltr to EPA (7-28-14).p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [6.5 MB]

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. 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


Conowingo Dam Owners Must Clean Up Their Act

unEarthed, Seth Johnson, July 19, 2013

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 feetTropical Storm Lee (September 10, 2011) had a crest of 26.2 feet, which is the fourth highest on record.


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