Tuesday, March 27, 2018

EPA's Plan for Conowingo Dam

The Chesapeake Bay Program has published its "plan" for what to do about Conowingo Dam, the fact that it is full of sediment, and not retaining any more pollution laden sediment. After detailing the history of the problem, a useful effort, but one we've heard before, they finally get around to what they intend to do about it. Study it:
Recently, the Chesapeake Bay Program decided that the best way to address the increased pollution from the Conowingo Dam would be to create a separate Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the dam. WIPs detail the steps that each watershed jurisdiction (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) will take to meet their pollution-reduction targets.

A separate steering committee will be tasked with writing this new WIP for the Conowingo Dam and developing a financing strategy. The committee will have representatives from each jurisdiction and the assistance of a third party. The Environmental Protection Agency will provide oversight in the development and implementation of the Conowingo WIP, evaluate and track the progress being made to reduce the additional pollution from the dam and provide technical and contractual support.

This approach will give all the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed the chance to participate in this massive undertaking and contribute in putting conservation practices in place to help offset the nutrient and sediment pollution loads from the Conowingo Dam.
Of course, this is no plan at all, except a plan to get a group of like minded people together and decide what's best for the jurisdictions. Of course, the answer will be onerous actions on the current owner of the dam, Exelon, which made the mistake of buying an asset which has saved the Bay for 80 years or so.

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