Spotlight - Susquehanna River Basin Commission Marks 40 Years

By Dr. Robert M. Summers, Maryland Commissioner, Susquehanna River Basin 

This year marks the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s 40th anniversary, and it’s a good time to reflect on the many accomplishments in water resources management since 1971.  I have listed some of those accomplishments, and hope you will visit the SRBC anniversary webpage.

Highlights of SRBC Accomplishments
1971 - 1975 
Devastating, record-setting flooding from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 set SRBC’s course and agenda for many years to come. SRBC began developing flood plain maps and flood hazard reports.  Other key highlights during the early 1970s:
-- Adopted first Comprehensive Plan and initiated first Water Resources Program. 
-- Began work on nonpoint source pollution, water quality assessment and coal mine drainage. 
-- Adopted initial project review regulations effective June 1, 1975.
1976 - 1980 
-- Adopted consumptive use and groundwater regulations. 
-- Adopted goals for restoring migratory fish such as American Shad. 
-- Began water quality efforts related to the Chesapeake Bay Program. 
1981- 1985 
-- Approved use of water from Conowingo Pond as mitigation water for Peach Bottom Power Plant. 
-- Amended Comprehensive Plan to recognize pre-Susquehanna Basin Compact water diversions by City of Baltimore and others for future planning purposes.
-- Served as an intervener in the federal relicensing the four hydroelectric projects.
1986 - 1990 
-- Began the enhanced Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System.
-- Initiated SRBC’s Interstate Water Quality Monitoring Network.
-- Notified regulated entities of SRBC’s groundwater withdrawal requirements.
1991 - 1995 
-- Declared a basin-wide drought emergency and released 440 million gallons of water stored in Cowanesque Reservoir in September 1995 to mitigate for consumptive water uses.
-- Marked the completion of migratory fish passage facility at Conowingo Dam in 1991.
-- Adopted comprehensive regulatory revisions, including surface water regulations. 
1996 - 1999 
-- Adopted an out-of-basin diversion policy to ensure that other users or the natural environment are not negatively impacted when water is removed from the Susquehanna Basin and discharged in another basin. 
-- Formed and led Sediment Task Force that evaluated and made recommendations on management options for addressing the buildup of sediment in the Conowingo Pool. 
2000 - 2005 
-- Adopted Susquehanna River Basin Drought Coordination Plan. 
-- Approved settlement agreement with City of Baltimore affirming SRBC’s authority to regulate city’s water withdrawals from Susquehanna River.
-- Marked record-setting run of American shad through fish passage facilities. 
-- Coordinated an assessment of Susquehanna flood warning system performance during Tropical Storm Ivan in 2004 and held a public meeting in Port Deposit, Maryland.
2006 -2010 
-- Improved regulations governing withdrawal and consumptive use of water by natural gas drilling industry, and launched state-of-the art Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network.
-- Adopted substantially revised Comprehensive Plan. 
-- Produced first-ever State of the Susquehanna Report.
            For more information, visit the SRBC anniversary webpage.


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