CONOWINGO — If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the license for the Conowingo Dam, officials from Exelon Generation will have to work harder to help endangered fish get up the Susquehanna River.
Sheila Eyler, project leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mid-Atlantic Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, said a new contract has been drafted that would require operators at the dam to do more for the anadromous species that need to get to the top of the river to spawn. This includes American shad, alewhite and blue back herring and the American eel.
“Like the shad, the herring spend most of their life in the river but they mature faster,” Eyler said. “They all spawn in the river like the shad.”
But overfishing, combined with the construction of four dams — Holtwood, Safe Harbor, York Haven and Conowingo — have blocked these fish from reaching spawning grounds in the Susquehanna River in New York.