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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received this from the River Keepers. I haven't read the case it references, but seems promissing.

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The slug of mud that covered the Bay from Havre de Grace south 60 miles to Bloody Point in the Spring of 2005 created dead zones never before seen in the Bay. It was also a warning that we have not yet heeded. As the sediment load continues to grow unabated every year behind Conowingo, the experts tell us that the destruction to the Bay will continue to get worse. Those of us who are trying to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay are only kidding ourselves if we think that we can protect the Bay without stopping the destructive sediment coming from Conowingo.

Yes, there are those who say that there is no solution. In that case, we might as well pack our bags and go home. Our efforts to stop destructive stormwater runoff elsewhere in the Bay are meaningless, if we do not stop the increasing tons of sediment coming from Conowingo. Ultimately, it will destroy much of the life in the Bay.

There are also those who believe that the federal government will solve this problem or that we are powerless to act. For those who think that the federal government is going to protect the Chesapeake Bay, look back over the past 30 years and consider the level of protection that the federal government has provided.

For those who think we are powerless,last Monday the Supreme Court handed us the tool that we needed to wield power. On Monday, the 15th of May, the Supreme Court ruled in Warren Co. v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, that water from dams are "discharges" subject to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and that state certification that said discharges will not impair water quality are required. Therefore, the State of Maryland can set effluent limitations and monitoring requirements that will protect the Bay as conditions of the Federal License for Conowingo Dam.

Does anyone think that the State of Maryland will do this without our involvement? For those who say that there is no solution, you might want to review Trident Engineerings Report on Hart/Miller Island before condemning the Chesapeake to unending destructive sediment from Conowingo and ever increasing dead zones.

I am writing this to hear your thoughts and discover who is willing to join in what will be an arduous journey to stop the prime destructive force harming the Bay. I look forward to your response.
 

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I think the estimated figure batted around to dredge the sediment behind the dam is in the 250 million range.

Withholding a permit until cleanup will only lead to higher electric rates and blame put on Pennsylvania, where it should be.

Wonder how long it would take to drag PA through the courts and get them to pony up?

Action Alert needed?[grin]
 

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I still don't see the actual solution. What can be done? Shut down
all farming from Cooperstown to Havre DeGrace? Shut down the whole city of Harrisburg?.........What?

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's a difference between significantly reducing runoff and shutting down industries/cities.

As to what can be done: dredging. Expensive, but what choice do we have?
 

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Even if we accept the premise that it would be possible to not renew the FERC permit that Excelon (?) holds, I don't see how that "remedy" will have any effect on the sediment entering the Conowingo pool or its ultimate movement into the bay. The company has absolutely no control over the upstream land-use activities, and I would assume that the upstream entities who contribute the sediment loads have little or no concern as to whether the company is able to renew its permit. So there is minimal leverage in either direction.

Let's face it, wherther or not the permit is renewed, nothing will change. The big economic lever is that when the sediment in the pool reaches a certain level, it will not be economically viable to generate power at Conowingo whether they have a permit or not. If the economics work out right, then Excelon would have every reason in the world to try to figure out how to remove the decades of sediment that are in the pool. If the economics don't justify it, a "full" pool would put them out of business as surely as the lack of permit.

We need to keep in mind that the dam and the pool are not the cause of the upcoming Chesapeake Bay sediment problem; as a matter of fact they have been the temporary solution to that problem for decades. But for the presence of the dam an pool, all this sediment would be in the bay right now and the Tidewater Grill would be looking over a corn field. Unfortunately that temporary solution has a short remaining shelf life if upstream conditions do not change.

I don't work for Excelon or have stock in the company. I am just not sure how they can be part of a long-term solution unless the economics work out. It seems to me that unless Excelon's share of dredging and disposal costs are a worthwhile investment, they have no reason to participate, and I doubt that they could be forced to participate.

However, there are obviously many stakeholders in the entwined fates of the upper Chesapeake Bay and Conowingo who could potentially share in the cost of a remedy, and such a cost-sharing approach COULD make it economically attractive enough that Excelon would participate thereby reducing the costs to other stakeholders.

I don't think we have much of a stick (however, I would be glad to be proved wrong) to use, so we man need to consider how we can use a carrot instead.
 

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I am writing this to hear your thoughts and discover who is willing to join in what will be an arduous journey to stop the prime destructive force harming the Bay. I look forward to your response.

[/Q]
The two dams above are silted in. They can no longer control water flow or sediment. Conowingo is estimated to have 20 years left before siltation. However, when the flood gates are opened it cleans out a lot. 11" of new deposits on the Flats according to some locals after 05'.

Goose, The Flats didn't just appear after the Conowingo Dam was constructed in the 30's. This has been an ongoing process for hundreds of years. It's not all bad.

I believe I'm in the 'journey' by being a member of CBF and doing my own thing to help the Bay.
 

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Good Thread-I'm not sure but I think the Dam just had their permit renued. When they have flood conditions they systematicaly open flood gates to flush the sediment out which is controled dumping of sedimate. It prolongs the clearing up time and pollutes the bay with suspended solids which block sunlight from the bay grasses. Dredging during the winter months is the answer to the problem and the money should come from the Feds which means we will all have to pay. I'm for helping any way I can if someone will take the lead.

Norm
 
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