Changes were just announced for the 2011 Savage River release program, which provides three recreational releases each year. The new schedule plans releases for June, July, and late September rather than July, August, and early September. The changes are intended to increase the storage of cold water for downstream sport fishing, and thus reduce the chances of releases being cancelled.
Once a valued whitewater boating destination, the dam on the Savage River eliminated almost all paddling opportunities for much of the past two decades. Negotiations between the dam managers, American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, and other stakeholders resulted in a new recreational release program that began in 2007.
The Savage River Dam is used for municipal water storage and flood control. The dam also creates reservoir bass fishing opportunities and downstream trout fishing opportunities. Downstream trout depend on the release of cold reservoir water throughout the summer. In recent years it was felt that August and early September paddling releases would unacceptably diminish that supply of cold water, triggering the cancellation of these releases. Providing releases earlier and later in the season when cold water is more readily available is anticipated to reduce the chances of cancelations.
The releases are sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Adventure
Sports Center International in cooperation with the Upper Potomac River Commission.
The 2011 Savage River release dates are 6/5, 7/3, and 9/25. The schedule can be viewed here: http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/northBranch.html