In a world of competing policy priorities, there is one policy objective that seems to generate more agreement than any other — we must protect the Chesapeake Bay. To do so requires good science, and recently we acquired some.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of the Environment partnered to conduct the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment. Since 2011, the team has endeavored to evaluate and estimate the quantities of sediment and associated nutrients flowing downstream to the hydroelectric dams on the Susquehanna River.

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The team includes scientists as well as other experts and in October it released a draft report. Among other things, the report concludes that increasing or recovering the storage volume of reservoirs via dredging or other methods is possible, but that "the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem benefits are minimal and short-lived, and the costs are high."

This is a key finding and strongly suggests that recent efforts to slow or stop the re-licensing of the Conowingo Dam, a key regional economic and energy-producing asset, are not supported by the most recent environmental research.

Anirban Basu, Baltimore

The writer is chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group.

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