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 supports the environment:

Marine Debris Management

  • The Conowingo Dam prevents a significant amount of debris from entering the Bay each year. In 2018 alone, Exelon removed 4,000 tons of debris!
    • Exelon deploys crews to operate overhead cranes and grapple devices to clear debris from the river as safely and efficiently as possible.
    • When safe, Exelon also launches debris skimmer boats to assist with cleanup.
    • Although Exelon Generation voluntarily removes debris from the river, no one can remove all debris from the upstream watershed, especially during flood conditions.
  • Each year, Exelon 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.

  • Exelon 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 combined.

  • The dam prevents 6.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions as an alternative to coal power – the equivalent of taking 1.2 million 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.

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