Chesapeake Quarterly
Dams, Sediment & the Bay
December 2011 • Volume 10, Number 4
Tropical storms Irene and Lee delivered a one-two punch to the Chesapeake Bay in August and September 2011. Lee brought heavy rainfall along the Susquehanna River, the Bay's largest freshwater source, washing tree branches and other debris into the Bay and depositing it along miles of shoreline. Scientists suspected the storm had brought to the Chesapeake one of the biggest sediment dumps on record, just behind the notoriously devastating Hurricane Agnes, in 1972. Just how much sediment did Lee leave bring, and what effect will it have on Bay ecology? Researchers Jeff Halka, Cindy Palinkas, and Larry Sanford have been collecting and studying sediment samples and comparing them to data from Agnes. Their results, so far, are not quite what they had expected.  more . . .
New federal regulations call for communities surrounding the Bay to reduce the overabundance of sediment and nutrients flowing into it by 2025. Trouble is, the Conowingo Dam, which keeps tons of sediment out of the Bay, may be filled up by then.
more . . .
The small dams on the Bay's tributaries are a legacy of a bygone era focused on water power for agricultural and industrial mills — and a target for a contemporary era focused on dam removal for fish passage. The dam dilemma: tear them down to open fish runs or leave them up to block sediment flows?
more . . .
After 14 years, Director Jon Kramer has left Maryland Sea Grant, but not the University of Maryland. He’ll be Director for Synthesis and Interdisciplinary Science at the University’s new, NSF-funded National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.  more . . .
To protect water quality, we need to keep sediment and nutrient runoff out of the Bay. Big storms, spring rains, and dams at capacity make this a challenge.  more . . .
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