Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Landmark Agreement with Exelon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses Cutting-edge Science to Drive Fishes’ Return to Susquehanna River

April 25, 2016


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External Affairs
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American shad

Exelon will jump start fish restoration by trapping American shad (pictured) and river herring at Conowingo and transporting them upstream of all dams on the river to their spawning grounds. Credit: USFWS
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KENNETT SQUARE, PA (April 21, 2016) – Exelon Generation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced an agreement to restore American shad and river herring to the East Coast’s largest river over the next 50 years. Shad and river herring are returning to their spawning grounds on the Susquehanna River at their lowest numbers since the 1980s. Exelon will improve fish passage facilities at Conowingo Dam and transport up to 100,000 American shad and 100,000 river herring annually to their spawning grounds above all four dams.

“With the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and consent of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Exelon is pleased to be party to an agreement that takes a significant step toward the Fish and Wildlife Service’s goals to restore American shad and river herring populations on the Susquehanna River,” said Ron DeGregorio, President, Exelon Power, Senior Vice President, Exelon Generation. “The trap and transport program allows fish to bypass Holtwood, Safe Harbor and York Haven Dams to successfully reach their spawning grounds.” 

Hundreds of thousands of American shad and river herring passed Conowingo Dam in 2001, but that number dwindled to less than 15,000 shad each of the last two years and less than 1,000 herring each year since 2003. The Service, along with other members of the Susquehanna River Anadromous Fish Restoration Cooperative, seeks to restore 2 million shad and 5 million herring above all dams.

“This is a victory for everyone who lives or recreates on the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Wendi Weber, Northeast regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The agreement honors the science-based recommendations developed by the federal and state agencies that manage these resources. Along with upgrades at two upstream dams, we believe hydropower dams should no longer be the most limiting factor for shad on the East Coast’s biggest river.”

Unlike other agreements, the agreement announced today not only requires immediate restoration efforts, it also requires that efforts adapt over 50 years to support a growing fish population. Cutting-edge modeling will be used to upgrade Conowingo’s two existing fish lifts to meet fish passage restoration goals.

The agreement also reiterates American eel restoration efforts originally outlined in the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Facility license. Eels will be trapped and transported upstream through at least 2030, after which a new structure will support passage. As eels migrate upstream, they distribute freshwater mussels that filter millions of gallons of water daily.

Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), now including the Pepco Holdings utilities, is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 2 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Exelon’s six utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries. Follow Exelon on Twitter @Exelon.

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