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Eel PassageEel passage ramp at Conowingo Dam

American eel populations have been declining along the Atlantic coast. Although the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries support a large portion of the coastal eel population, eels are rarely found in the Susquehanna River watershed.

Following the construction of the Conowingo Dam in 1928 near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, eel migration into the Susquehanna watershed drastically declined. Although the Conowingo Dam has an operating fish lift for passage of American shad and other anadromous fish, it is not effective in passing young migrating eels.

The goal of this project is to reestablish eel populations in tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. The objective of the Conowingo Dam study is to determine the most effective methods for collecting and passing American eels to the upstream portion of the Susquehanna River.

The Maryland Fishery Resources Office is collecting baseline information on abundance, timing of migrations, catchability and attraction parameters for eels at the base of the Conowingo Dam. Information from this study will help determine the best potential location and type of passage that can be provided for eels on the first of the Susquehanna River mainstem dams.

Click here to watch eel movie!

Last updated: January 30, 2013
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