Deep Creek Lake Dam Water Release Policy

BCC-IWLA submitted a formal statement to the Maryland Department of the Environment in Proceedings related to Deep Creek Lake Dam Water Release Policy

Deep Creek Lake Dam Water Release Policy

Jack Shaw, Legislative Affairs Committee Chair

At its meeting on December 18, the Officers and Board Members considered and agreed to submit a formal statement to the Maryland Department of the Environment in Proceedings related to Deep Creek Lake Dam Water Release Policy. Issues under consideration in these Proceedings included potential limits on summer cold-water drawdowns affect- ing trout streams and Catch and Release Programs down- stream on the Youghiogheny River.

Hydroelectric dams in Maryland are subject to regulation in the public interest and must undergo periodic review and renewal of their operating permits. Dam safety is paramount, but such proceedings also enable stakeholders to share their views and make recommendations on policies regarding the operation of Brookfield Dam.

Major stakeholders in this case include the dam owners, who need sufficient water releases to meet their electricity generating requirements, lakeshore property owners who desire lake levels sufficient to reach and operate their various watercraft, the whitewater rafting community which needs sufficient water flow at appropriate times, and Waltonians who have enjoyed and appreciated a successful catch and release program between Hoyes and Sang Run on the Yough for the past 25 years.

During these proceedings a movement has come forward advocating the termination of the cold-water release program in the interest of supporting higher lake water levels during periods of drought and low water. This proposal argues that the River is ‘lightly fished’ and the trout migrate downstream to Pennsylvania – for which there is no reliable evidence. The practical effect of this change would be to destroy the trout fishery in the River.

The engagement of our Chapter in this matter is in response to a request for support from the Mid-Atlantic Council of Trout Unlimited and is supportive of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resource’s recommendations as well.

Copies of the letter together with a one-page explanatory statement will be available in limited quantity at our January meeting, or copies can be requested via return email from Jack Shaw at

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