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Open house on Conowingo Dam re-licensing to be held Nov. 13

Renewable EnergyHydroelectricityHarford Community College

An open house to provide information about the pending re-licensing of Conowingo Dam will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Harford Community College's Chesapeake Center theater.

State and federal agencies will host the open house to provide those interested with information on the Conowingo Dam re-licensing process and timeline.

The open house, which runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m., is organized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

DNR officials emphasized the open house is to provide information about the re-licensing and is not for the purpose of taking public comment.

Because seating is limited, registration is requested at http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/waters/Conowingo/Register_Online.asp.

From 7:15 to 7:45 p.m., Joe Gill, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will present an overview and update on the hydropower facility's re-licensing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Attendees are invited to visit any or all of the following six information booths to receive more information and ask questions:

• Re-licensing Process;

• Water Quality and Sediment;

• Fish Passage;

• Recreation and Land;

• Flow and Debris Management;

• Exelon Dam Operations.

The federal license for the 85-year-old hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River between Harford and Cecil counties is due to expire in 2014. The license was issued in 1980.

Conowingo Dam is owned by Exelon Generating Company LLC and is capable of generating 573 megawatts of electricity. The re-licensing process began in 2009.

Among issues being looked at by federal regulators are the cumulative effect of sediment buildup behind the dam and the amount of nutrients discharged downriver and flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, according to FERC documents.

Flow and debris management have long been concerns to both environmentalists and officials in towns along the river below the dam, and passage of migratory fish through the dam was a major issue during the last re-licensing.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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