Environmental Responsibility

Environmental Responsibility

The Conowingo Dam and reservoir help sustain wildlife and play a vital role in protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Here are just some of the ways that the dam and its operation support the environment:

Marine Debris Management

  • Constellation voluntarily removes an average of 600 tons of trash and debris around the Dam each year. In 2018 alone, Constellation removed 4,000 tons of debris!
    • Constellation deploys crews to operate overhead cranes and grapple devices to clear debris from the river as safely and efficiently as possible.
    • When safe, Constellation also launches debris skimmer boats to assist with cleanup.
    • Although Constellation voluntarily removes debris from the river, no one can remove all debris from the upstream watershed, especially during flood conditions.
  • Each year, Constellation sponsors two events — the Lower Susquehanna Heritage River Sweep and Conowingo Pond clean-up day – to remove more than 100 tons of debris and refuse from the river each year.

  • In 2018, Constellation donated $25,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Trust to support local debris clean up efforts

To learn more about how the dam and its operators help manage flood risk and support the bay environment, please click here.

Renewable Energy

  • For 90 years, the Conowingo Dam has served as Maryland’s largest source of renewable energy – and provides more renewable energy than all other sources.

  • The dam prevents 867,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year – equivalent to taking 186,000 cars off the road.  

In terms of being able to see foraging, number of birds and the amount of activity, I don’t think anything rivals Conowingo.”

- Dr. Bryan Watts, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, College of William and Mary 

Wildlife Conservation

  • The dam provides prime breeding, nesting and foraging grounds for the American Bald Eagle. According to Destination Wildlife, approximately 300 eagles gather by each Thanksgiving.
  • The dam helps a million migratory and native fish travel over the dam for spawning in the Susquehanna each year, thanks to multi-million dollar fish lifts, which have helped restore more than 1 million American Shad.
  • Constellation has conducted or funded almost 50 scientific studies to help scientists better understand the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. One of these reports was the landmark Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment (LSRWA) conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (USACE), and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). 

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