KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — Exelon Generation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an agreement Monday to restore American shad and river herring to the Sesquehanna River over the next 50 years. Shad and river herring are returning to their spawning grounds on the Susquehanna 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 of Exelon Power.
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. Members of the Susquehanna River Anadromous Fish Restoration Cooperative, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeks to restore 2 million shad and 5 million herring above all dams.
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.