Millions of tons of sediment are trapped behind the Conowingo Dam. It can’t hold more, so Governor Hogan has called for a test of dredging some of the sediment. Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles explains how the state plans to work with Chesapeake watershed partners --and Exelon which operates the dam--to pay for the project, while finding new uses for the sediment.
Also trapped by the dam are nutrients from runoff, like phosphorous and nitrogen. The Bay Journal’s Tim Wheeler says sediment causes harm by clouding the water and smothering oysters, but the nutrient burden travels farther down the Bay, causing algae blooms and dead zones.