From the Office of the Governor of Maryland:
Governor Larry Hogan today held a second Conowingo Dam Summit in Darlington, Maryland, where he hosted state and local officials, regional partners, and members of the scientific, research, and environmental advocacy communities to discuss solutions to the growing threat posed to the Chesapeake Bay by sediment flowing through the Dam. Earlier in the morning, the governor addressed a seminar sponsored by the National Governors Association’s Water Policy Learning Network, which he co-chairs along with California Governor Jerry Brown.
Following the summit, the governor was joined by Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Mark Belton, Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles, Secretary of Planning Wendi Peters, Maryland Energy Administration Director Dr. Mary Beth Tung, and Maryland Environmental Service Director Roy McGrath, as well as Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and Cecil County Executive Dr. Alan McCarthy to deliver an update on the administration’s next step to address this critical water quality issue.
“To expand on the great progress we have made when it comes to the Bay, it is absolutely vital that we find real solutions for the problem of sediment and nutrient pollution,” said Governor Hogan. “The Conowingo Dam reservoir has reached capacity and is no longer able to trap sediment, which if allowed to flow downstream, could substantially increase pollution, and negatively impact water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Much of our efforts to protect the Bay and safeguard our environment for future generations could be easily wiped out by the effects of one bad storm.”
Governor Hogan went on to announce that the Maryland Environmental Service will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a demonstration project to determine the costs for dredging behind the Dam, identify markets available for the dredged material, and identify companies have the capability to beneficially reuse the material. The official RFP will be issued on August 31, with responses and a final award anticipated this fall.
Since his campaign for office and from the earliest days of the administration, Governor Hogan raised the alarm about the long-ignored issue of sediment overflow and pollution from the Susquehanna River across the dam and into the Bay. Recent scientific reports confirm that the Dam has reached full capacity and can no longer stop pollution from entering the Bay.
In 2016, Governor Hogan held the first Conowingo Dam Summit and announced a Request for Information (RFI) to identify cost-effective dredging solutions. The administration put together a multi-agency work group composed of representatives from the Maryland Departments of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Planning, the Maryland Port Administration, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES). The work group reviewed the responses to the RFI and used the information to develop the RFP.
Since taking office, Governor Hogan has taken unprecedented actions to protect the Chesapeake Bay. The administration has invested more than $3 billion in state funds towards Bay restoration efforts, as well as nearly $145 million in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, becoming the only governor in Maryland history to fully fund the Trust Fund. Governor Hogan worked closely with agricultural and environmental communities to develop enhanced Phosphorous Management Tool regulations, reflecting his commitment to seek innovative solutions to reduce sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus pollution in Maryland’s waterways. The governor has also made it a priority to promote land conservation by fully funding Program Open Space and other land preservation programs.
In May 2017, the Chesapeake Bay received its highest score for water quality in nearly a quarter century, and in June 2017, Governor Hogan was unanimously elected chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, which includes five states and Washington, D.C.