Science Center Objects

Chesapeake Bay Program video on the Conowingo Dam


The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station, or Conowingo Dam, is one of three dams on the lower Susquehanna River. While the reservoir behind the dam has long captured sediment flowing downstream, recent studies have drawn attention to its changing effectiveness as a “pollution gate.” Because the reservoir behind the dam is essentially full, it is only trapping sediment in the short term. During large storms and severe floods, sediment and attached nutrients can “scour” into the Susquehanna, moving over the dam and into the Chesapeake Bay. While it is possible to manage sediment behind the dam, researchers have found that reducing upstream nutrient and sediment pollution would be more beneficial to the Bay.


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