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Comments Needed to Support Upper Yough Releases (MD)

Posted: 11/15/2019
By: Kevin Colburn

The 12-year state permit that governs the releases from Deep Creek Lake into the Upper Youghiogheny is up for renewal, and decision-makers would benefit from hearing from paddlers. Three public meetings and significant discussions have led to broad agreement on some minor changes that are important to the paddling community, and other important issues remain unresolved. Your comment letters could help ensure the Upper Yough is managed in a responsible manner for years to come. Consider the following points for a letter, and explain why these would benefit you and the broader communities involved:

  • Support the proposed change of release dates in April from Fridays to Saturdays. This measure should make the releases more accessible to more people. 
  • Support making all temperature protocol releases that start between 11 am and 3 pm two hours long. This measure will help these fish-related releases also support paddling. 
  • Support requiring that non-scheduled releases between April 15th and October 15th include a full 2-hour release prior to starting variable flow operations when the USGS gage at Hoyes Run is below 300 cfs. This measure will ensure that power-related releases during low flow times also support paddling. 
  • Support for the current rule band, which governs reservoir levels and supports both reservoir and river recreation. This will ensure the releases are more likely to occur in dry years. 

These very modest changes should not result in a reallocation of water or a rebalancing of interests, but rather optimize the value of releases by serving multiple purposes with roughly the same amounts of water. We feel that this project is well managed for many interests, and want to thank the Maryland Department of the Environment and Brookfield Power for a job well done. 

The public comment period for this application remains open until close of business on December 16, 2019. Respectful comments may be submitted by email to or by mail to John Grace, Chief, Source Protection and Appropriation Division, Water Supply Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

Check out the State's Deep Creek Permitting Website for more information.

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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Youghiogheny MD
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