Gomez and Sullivan Engineers

Conowingo Hydroelectric Project Eel Passage Success

Since 2009, Gomez and Sullivan has been the lead licensing consultant for Exelon Generation’s Conowingo Hydroelectric Project on the Susquehanna River in Darlington, Maryland. American eel migration is a significant piece of the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE’s) overall program to holistically restore and revitalize the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, as American eel are a primary host for freshwater mussels. To support this effort, Gomez and Sullivan provided Exelon with design, permitting, and construction phase services for an eel collection, holding, and transport facility on the west side of the Conowingo Dam. Gomez and Sullivan prepared design plans and cost estimates and obtained permits for construction. The facility includes a gravity-fed water line, control panels, an aluminum eel ramp, a collection tank, holding tanks, an overflow tank, an aeration system, and water quality and flow monitoring systems. This marks the third straight year of increasing numbers of American eel captured for transport at the dam, with 623,095 eels captured during the passage season ending on November 9, 2021.

Gomez and Sullivan led another successful project for Exelon’s Muddy Run Pumped Storage Project, providing design, permitting, and construction phase services for a permanent American eel trapping facility on the shore ofOctoraro Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Gomez and Sullivan previously coordinated with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to obtain approval for a temporary eel passage facility at the same location. The site had been experiencing shoreline erosion that was threatening the temporary facility and presenting public safety issues. The permanent facility design included shoreline erosion protection features, an eel ramp, and an eel collection tank. In 2021, the Octoraro Creek Eel Facility captured 45,230 American eels.

 

In October 2019, a settlement agreement was reached between MDE and Exelon, one result of which is the proposed addition of a second eel ramp on the east side of the Conowingo Dam near the existing East Fish Lift. Gomez and Sullivan is currently providing design services for this new eel ramp and collection facility .