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Chesapeake Bay Debris Cancelling Racing

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Due to the flood gates open on the Susquehanna dam there has been a tremendous about of debris that has floated down the bay in the last few weeks. Due to this, as of yesterday, AYC Wednesday Night Racing was cancelled, Thursday J World was cancelled, as well as St. Mary's Gov Cup for the weekend.  While there is no doubt there is some debris leftover, what are others feelings on races being cancelled for the possibility of hitting anything?  Do you all agree with this decision, or is it another case of people not allowing competitors to make the decision under their own accord?

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its not just sailors,  but the race committee has to be able to set marks safely,  debris could be coming down fouling the marks.  if you end up with potential out of towners coming in and they arrive to trees floating on the race course  it would be a bit of a downer.  its one thing it was just some twigs and branches....  but you got some serious logs, its not real pretty.  Yes the skipper/boat owner/crew has the final say about participation.  But as an event organizer  you have to protect the integrity of the event as well.

 

FWIW  they have done the same thing on potamac, canceling vents do to unsailable conditions

 

cgnews-bay-debris-pg-20180730-011.jpg

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We don't need those stinking regulations.  We need the stinking pollution.  This is nothing compared to the algae problem in the Indian River Estuary in the Stuart, Florida area.  You should see that one.  Toxic Algae is forcing businesses to close.  MAGA.  Make America Gross Again.

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Was the right call IMHO.  Hitting a partially submerged log in the middle of the night will put a serious damper on your day...

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WOW - I thought our logging debris was bad.

What causes all that crap? Logging?

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33 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

WOW - I thought our logging debris was bad.

What causes all that crap? Logging?

A large flood scoured every loose branch, tree, propane tank, water heater, tire, and dead cow from Pennsylvania and New York and then the dam upstream of the Bay had to open the floodgates and let all the crap come down here :angry:

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We have had a bout of heavy rains over the last several weeks.  and it dislodges trees branches, ect and it runs off into rivers and streams that feed the susquehana. the debris starts there and builds up behind the dam .  Conowingo dam  feeds into the chespeak bay.  so they had to release some water. since it was nearing flood stage

all that extra water created more debris which in turn snowballs as the bigger debris field creates more and more debris. 

not logging, just some of it natural landscape waste,  and some crap like tires, and other garbage.

http://www.jayflemingphotography.com/blog/2018/3/6/susquehanna-river-trash-and-debris

Susquehanna+River+%C2%A9+Jay+Fleming+02.

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3 minutes ago, Marcjsmith said:

We have had a bout of heavy rains over the last several weeks.  and it dislodges trees branches, ect and it runs off into rivers and streams that feed the susquehana. the debris starts there and builds up behind the dam .  Conowingo dam  feeds into the chespeak bay.  so they had to release some water. since it was nearing flood stage

all that extra water created more debris which in turn snowballs as the bigger debris field creates more and more debris. 

not logging, just some of it natural landscape waste,  and some crap like tires, and other garbage.

http://www.jayflemingphotography.com/blog/2018/3/6/susquehanna-river-trash-and-debris

Susquehanna+River+%C2%A9+Jay+Fleming+02.

Holy shit, it looks like you can walk across that.

Sucks!

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43 minutes ago, miahmouse said:

Was the right call IMHO.  Hitting a partially submerged log in the middle of the night will put a serious damper on your day...

Night, actually.

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We have been finding cut logs, so some logging is involved. Probably 99% of the debris though is not logging related. The logs in question weren't being floated down the river on purpose, more like a lumber yard got flooded and floated the logs waiting to get milled down the river.

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53 minutes ago, akeeley4834 said:

We don't need those stinking regulations.  We need the stinking pollution.  This is nothing compared to the algae problem in the Indian River Estuary in the Stuart, Florida area.  You should see that one.  Toxic Algae is forcing businesses to close.  MAGA.  Make America Gross Again.

take it to PA.

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Nothing to worry about, they have "top men" that are working on it right now:

Quote

"In order to mitigate the debris that comes down the Susquehanna to the dam, we operate overhead cranes, grapple devices and skimmer boats to remove debris from the river safely and efficiently. We will continue to do so in accordance with industry best practices and our debris management plan as conditions permit. We clear as much trash and debris from the river as possible and have removed more than 600 tons of debris year to date."

 

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4 hours ago, Marcjsmith said:

its not just sailors,  but the race committee has to be able to set marks safely,  debris could be coming down fouling the marks.  if you end up with potential out of towners coming in and they arrive to trees floating on the race course  it would be a bit of a downer.  its one thing it was just some twigs and branches....  but you got some serious logs, its not real pretty.  Yes the skipper/boat owner/crew has the final say about participation.  But as an event organizer  you have to protect the integrity of the event as well.

 

FWIW  they have done the same thing on potamac, canceling vents do to unsailable conditions

 

cgnews-bay-debris-pg-20180730-011.jpg

The Bull and Bear have sailed in those conditions on the Delaware.

These are a driftwood dealers dream time!

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3 hours ago, Marcjsmith said:

We have had a bout of heavy rains over the last several weeks.  and it dislodges trees branches, ect and it runs off into rivers and streams that feed the susquehana. the debris starts there and builds up behind the dam .  Conowingo dam  feeds into the chespeak bay.  so they had to release some water. since it was nearing flood stage

all that extra water created more debris which in turn snowballs as the bigger debris field creates more and more debris. 

not logging, just some of it natural landscape waste,  and some crap like tires, and other garbage.

http://www.jayflemingphotography.com/blog/2018/3/6/susquehanna-river-trash-and-debris

Susquehanna+River+%C2%A9+Jay+Fleming+02.

WOW! I just looked at that post, and that picture was from March this past year, not 2 weeks ago as I suspected. 

BTW, look at the home page, some beautiful images of the bay (without the trash). http://www.jayflemingphotography.com/

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I'm disappointed that racing was cancelled but in reality this isn't all from the dam.  Every single tributary has been completely overwhelmed by the extreme amounts of rain that keep coming.  Every river has topped their banks and taken debris, trees, sticks etc with them.  As much fun as it is to blame everything on the dam, it's not realistic.  The pic of the debris in the harbor shows a problem but it's more coincidence and useful for publicity than anything.  The steady breeze out of the south has pushed all that stuff up there but on any given day after a good storm you can find coves that look this bad and are packed with debris.

 

    

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6 hours ago, Movable Ballast said:

take it to PA.

Why?  Did he hit a nerve?  Do you see how much plastic trash and garbage is in there?  Seems like people just want to talk about the wood and shy away from the bigger picture.  We are destroying this fucking planet and people just want close their eyes to it because it's inconvenient.

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A lot of it is from the Susquehanna.  Baltimore received over 20" of rain in July, most of it (15+) in the last 10 days.  Pennsylvania got more.   The dam has been a big issue for the Chesapeake for a lot of years.  Upstream debris and poor shoreline management puts a lot of silt and debris behind the dam so there isn't much depth to hold runoff.  MD has notified Exelon (operator of the hydro dam) to clean things up but they are suing based on the "we didn't create the debris".  

As Kack says, some of it is from the tributaries. Chesapeake is downstream from a lot of major urban concentrations where "littering" isn't a big deal.  A lot of natural debris comes from deadfall created by dead trees, erosion, etc.  "Save the Bay" laws in MD require you to leave fallen trees in the water unless they are blocking access, in which case, you are supposed to get an environmental permit to remove them since they provide cover for fish, etc.  As they deteriorate and minor coastal flooding occurs, the branches and trunks get washed into the creeks and out into the Bay.  

Patuxent looked OK a few days ago but haven't been out into the Bay since the big rains started.  From experience, it does get pretty nasty after a big rain event like this past couple of weeks and a lot of Gov Cup tactics involve playing the shallows where the nasty stuff will hang up.  Would have preferred they not cancel but understand why they did.  

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19 minutes ago, Grrr... said:

Why?  Did he hit a nerve?  Do you see how much plastic trash and garbage is in there?  Seems like people just want to talk about the wood and shy away from the bigger picture.  We are destroying this fucking planet and people just want close their eyes to it because it's inconvenient.

What nerve? Do you really think anyone likes pollution?

No, but when you MAGA shit out I'm pretty sure most on this forum don't want the kind of crap that goes on in the PA forum.

Hit a nerve... chill out dude.

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2 hours ago, Movable Ballast said:

 Do you really think anyone likes pollution?

No but lots of people don't care or don't comprehend where it comes from.

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7 hours ago, Leon T said:

WOW! I just looked at that post, and that picture was from March this past year, not 2 weeks ago as I suspected. 

BTW, look at the home page, some beautiful images of the bay (without the trash). http://www.jayflemingphotography.com/

Yeah I know the article was from March. But I would imagine given the amount of rain we have gotten in the last 4 weeks. I’d bet the dam looked very similar.  

I cross the Potomac daily down stream of great falls. And it amazing the amount crap flowing down stream. 

I imagine that in a couple weeks it will bad again as the recent rains dislodge more debris. 

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16 hours ago, Movable Ballast said:

take it to PA.

hey idjit, it's a moral issue, that's why you're butthurt. wise up.

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Is good to see most of that looks like natural stuff. What you do not see in that mess is all of the sewer treatment plants that have been dumping due the flooding.  There is a lot of farm land that is now cleaned up.  It will take a month to recover from all of the runoff and freshwater.    Be glad you are not a waterman trying to make a living out there.

Sailing down the bay at night on a Corsair with all of this floating debri could make the mind wander.

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For those that aren't aware, the Chesapeake is basically the ancient lower Susquehanna that's only flooded a couple of dozen feet.  While folks want to get all righteous about the human trash (which absolutely sucks but is less than it was 20-30 years ago), the real issue isn't the debris, manmade or natural.  Problem is that for nearly 100 years, the Conowingo Dam has served as a pollution barrier for sediment and sediment born nutrients entering the Chesapeake from the Susquehanna river system.  The reservoir is now essentially "full" of sediment and any flood event, even minor ones, result in nearly 100% of the sediment in the river to carry over into the Bay, bringing with it tons of nitrogen and phosphorous from mostly farmland upstream.  Large events, such as this past 2 weeks, provide enough flow that scouring of the sediment upstream increases the sediment flow and scouring below the dam tears up underwater grasses in the Susquehanna Flats, reversing years of progress and recovery.  This presentation from 2009 discusses the issue.  Maryland, as the recipient of this mostly Pennsylvania sourced pollution has been pushing for solutions and Pennsylvania is far behind in meeting long standing reduction goals.  A classic example of the further you are from the impact, the less that you care.   We see similar issues on the other large rivers feeding into the Bay (Potomac and Patuxent are significant problems but improving).  Scientifically, there isn't much cost/benefit to dredging 100 tons of nutrient laden silt from behind the dam and gaining back 50-75 years of buffer but that's "easier" than actually controlling the runoff along 100 miles of river.  

Things are actually improving.  I've lived on the water for most of my life and some of you folks aren't old enough to remember burning rivers, Boston Harbor so toxic that you would need shots if you went in and red tides in the south that were near constant.  Chesapeake got it's best water quality grade in decades but progress is still very slow.  

The natural debris and the  plastic and other trash will slowly get cleaned up.  It sucks for those that make their living on the Bay and the wet spring and low salinity have already hurt crab harvest.  Debris creates a hazard for our toys but, just like every other flood event, it will clear up.  

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5 minutes ago, Innocent Bystander said:

 

Things are actually improving.  I've lived on the water for most of my life and some of you folks aren't old enough to remember burning rivers, Boston Harbor so toxic that you would need shots if you went in and red tides in the south that were near constant.  Chesapeake got it's best water quality grade in decades but progress is still very slow.  

 

 

Absolutely. 20 years ago I thought we would never be able to eat Lynnhaven oysters ever again, but here we are.

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Think about motoring out to the start. Broken props everywhere. 

We'll take some of your extra water here in so cal. I watched as one after another case of those small water bottles left the Costco here.  I want to believe sailors try to be eco friendly, but with millions of these horrible things out there, many are bound to hit the water, as seen in your pics. Styrofoam coffee cups as found in many yc's are just as bad.   Sorry for the rant, but I'm a surfer, sailor, live aboard, and I see firsthand the careless acts of people who abuse the easy access to these pollutants. 

 

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1 hour ago, poncho said:

Think about motoring out to the start. Broken props everywhere.

 

Suck enough of that crap into your engine raw  water intake and the engine will seize before the prop breaks

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Having experienced the Hurricane Harvey floods, just stop and take a breath.  You will survive if you miss a few days of sailing.  Flood waters are gross.  There is a lot more nasty stuff in flood water than you want to think about.  Spend you time helping someone whose home got flooded instead. 

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4 hours ago, Innocent Bystander said:

For those that aren't aware, the Chesapeake is basically the ancient lower Susquehanna that's only flooded a couple of dozen feet.  While folks want to get all righteous about the human trash (which absolutely sucks but is less than it was 20-30 years ago), the real issue isn't the debris, manmade or natural.  Problem is that for nearly 100 years, the Conowingo Dam has served as a pollution barrier for sediment and sediment born nutrients entering the Chesapeake from the Susquehanna river system.  The reservoir is now essentially "full" of sediment and any flood event, even minor ones, result in nearly 100% of the sediment in the river to carry over into the Bay, bringing with it tons of nitrogen and phosphorous from mostly farmland upstream.  Large events, such as this past 2 weeks, provide enough flow that scouring of the sediment upstream increases the sediment flow and scouring below the dam tears up underwater grasses in the Susquehanna Flats, reversing years of progress and recovery.  This presentation from 2009 discusses the issue.  Maryland, as the recipient of this mostly Pennsylvania sourced pollution has been pushing for solutions and Pennsylvania is far behind in meeting long standing reduction goals.  A classic example of the further you are from the impact, the less that you care.   We see similar issues on the other large rivers feeding into the Bay (Potomac and Patuxent are significant problems but improving).  Scientifically, there isn't much cost/benefit to dredging 100 tons of nutrient laden silt from behind the dam and gaining back 50-75 years of buffer but that's "easier" than actually controlling the runoff along 100 miles of river.  

Things are actually improving.  I've lived on the water for most of my life and some of you folks aren't old enough to remember burning rivers, Boston Harbor so toxic that you would need shots if you went in and red tides in the south that were near constant.  Chesapeake got it's best water quality grade in decades but progress is still very slow.  

The natural debris and the  plastic and other trash will slowly get cleaned up.  It sucks for those that make their living on the Bay and the wet spring and low salinity have already hurt crab harvest.  Debris creates a hazard for our toys but, just like every other flood event, it will clear up.  

Thank you for putting up a rational fact based post into this mess.

With respect @Kackthis is from the damn (mostly) and not from the tributaries (mostly). Monday - through last night I or friends have been out on the water.  Monday, The Magothey and Chester (to Kent island) was clean with the middle of the Bay was a mess with lots of debris.  Tuesday a friend raced in Baltimore and said they saw nothing and had no issues (and sent pics... not mine to share).  Wed and Thursday I played on the Magothy.  Again, virtually no debris.  The only places I ran into saw lot of debris was the Bay and its shore (like the clean up at SPSP).  Nothing of any significance in any of the tribs I was in.   The mess from the damn is very real and very significant.  Pic is from Wednesday on Magothy.

Finally, while I would be happy to race my boat in the rivers or Bay during the day this weekend, there is no way I would sail at night on the Bay.  Too great a risk of damage.  I am with @HookEm and @dew.  As a Corsair owner I ain't gonna sink or injure crew even if holed but I could do without that repair bill and there are people a lot worse off than a few racers who would have wanted to do Gov Cup even with the risk.

PS - edit to add obviously the pics are not of my Corsair.  Its the other mistress, my Laser!

s2.jpg

s1.jpg

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1 hour ago, jerseyguy said:

Suck enough of that crap into your engine raw  water intake and the engine will seize before the prop breaks

Yeah, kind of moots out the prop issue. Send water!

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We were one of the few boats that went out for a sail on Wednesday night.  It was one of the the nicest nights of the season for a race.  There was very little debris in the water in the race course area.  The photos you are seeing in this thread are on the shoreline after an easterly wind for two days. The few branches and logs that we could find, we avoided.  I agree with cancelling a race being held at night, in the bay, but disagree with Wednesday being cancelled.  I believe the junior programs were even out Wednesday. l’m certain that conditions did not change between the email earlier Wednesday stating the race was on and the decision to cancel at 4:00.  Either way, we enjoyed a fun, sunny, breezy and safe sail Wednesday evening on the bay.  IMHO, yet another missed opportunity for a race this season, but let's listen into what our local correspondent had to say. 

 

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I too was a bit surprised with AYC calling off their wed night race, but the decision by St Mary's and SMSA to cancel Gov Cup was prudent. haven't really seen anything extra floating around on West River, but quite a few stranded trees in the shallows near Curtis Pt and all over out on the Bay.. They opened the gates at Conowingo a week ago last Thursday. It took a couple days for all that crap to make it down the Susquehanna and out into the Bay and it will take a few weeks for it all to clear out of the bay.

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I just ran up the bay from Tangier Island to Annapolis (11:00AM Sunday).

Noticed one birthday balloon in the water (I picked it up) otherwise zero debris.

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Ran the Patuxent yesterday afternoon from the bridge to Broomes island, including Mill/Cuckold, St Leonard and Island Creeks. Saw one small stick.  Creeks are a bit muddy but the river is pretty clear. 

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On 8/3/2018 at 9:08 AM, doghouse said:

 

Absolutely. 20 years ago I thought we would never be able to eat Lynnhaven oysters ever again, but here we are.

Saw a huge Loggerhead turtle in the starting area a few weeks ago at Leukemia Cup. Getting better for sure, long way to go. 

 

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On 8/2/2018 at 5:15 PM, Innocent Bystander said:

A lot of it is from the Susquehanna.  Baltimore received over 20" of rain in July, most of it (15+) in the last 10 days.  Pennsylvania got more.   The dam has been a big issue for the Chesapeake for a lot of years.  Upstream debris and poor shoreline management puts a lot of silt and debris behind the dam so there isn't much depth to hold runoff.  MD has notified Exelon (operator of the hydro dam) to clean things up but they are suing based on the "we didn't create the debris".  

As Kack says, some of it is from the tributaries. Chesapeake is downstream from a lot of major urban concentrations where "littering" isn't a big deal.  A lot of natural debris comes from deadfall created by dead trees, erosion, etc.  "Save the Bay" laws in MD require you to leave fallen trees in the water unless they are blocking access, in which case, you are supposed to get an environmental permit to remove them since they provide cover for fish, etc.  As they deteriorate and minor coastal flooding occurs, the branches and trunks get washed into the creeks and out into the Bay.  

Patuxent looked OK a few days ago but haven't been out into the Bay since the big rains started.  From experience, it does get pretty nasty after a big rain event like this past couple of weeks and a lot of Gov Cup tactics involve playing the shallows where the nasty stuff will hang up.  Would have preferred they not cancel but understand why they did.  

not just the Susquehanna, though the sediment is not good for the bay.  Excellent set of articles on the impact of the dam in Chesapeake Magazine a couple years ago.

Was talking to a husband and wife from Tappahannock (half way down the Rappahanock river) yesterday.  They said the flooding up river had left huge trees and other debris all over their beach. It had come down from Fredricksburg and points west.   I drove over the Rappahannock on my way to DC this morning.   Instead of a bit of water trickling between large rocks, it was raging like a Cat 2 whitewater location.

The rains for May, June and now August have made most river very brackish.  I have not seen jellyfish on the Piankatank since April as there is not enough salinity.  Am hearing the fishing and oysters are way off for the same reason.  This continued rain is not going to help.  Still better that everything burning up like out West.  And the corn and soybeans are growing gangbusters.   Lord save us all if a hurricane hits, as the ground is totally saturated.  The tress will fall with little provocation.

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I was sailing last night. Besides for the tree in the corner of my slip that the dock boys are hauling away, there was no unusual amount of debris in the river anymore. I would not call off a sailboat activity at this point.

No jelly fish seen here. Some areas have got *14 inches* of rain in July. Some states don't get that much in a year.

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I was on the delivery crew for Chesapeake, the Evelyn 42 out of Hampton, VA. We arrived in Annapolis Wednesday, August 1st. At that time, the bay south of Annapolis had a very slight amount of debris, and Annapolis Harbor was completely navigable. I did see a flew slips full of debris, and a few logs were floating around, but nothing that couldn't be easily avoided.

After the race was canceled, we left Thursday morning for the return trip. Again, I sighted very little debris anywhere around Annapolis, and nothing after motoring south for about an hour. Over the next two days of motor sailing around Chesapeake in a southerly direction, I spotted absolutely zero debris from the dam.

The race was canceled 2.5 days before the starting time. In my opinion, having actually been in the effected area for about three days total, the race committee canceled way too early. They had options. They could have waited a day, or they could have altered the race to a day time to mitigate the danger of hitting debris at night.

While safety is definitely a concern, always, sailing inherently is unsafe. Sailors accept risk by participating in the sport. Furthermore, if the RC's concern was also the bad publicity of a potential debris-related collision during the race, what about the bad publicity of canceling prematurely? If a race isn't serious and is canceled too casually, it won't attract serious competitors.

Edited by ClayCam
post wasn't complete.

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Before we all pile onto the RC for this one, on the day of the cancellation, I was watching the news. The news anchors stated that the governor himself directed that the race be canceled, followed by an audio/video soundbite of Larry Hogan going on about the race lanes being too hazardous.

I'm not 100% positive that this is exactly how it happened, just reporting what I saw and heard.

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On 8/2/2018 at 1:37 PM, Kack said:

I'm disappointed that racing was cancelled but in reality this isn't all from the dam.  Every single tributary has been completely overwhelmed by the extreme amounts of rain that keep coming.  Every river has topped their banks and taken debris, trees, sticks etc with them.  As much fun as it is to blame everything on the dam, it's not realistic.  The pic of the debris in the harbor shows a problem but it's more coincidence and useful for publicity than anything.  The steady breeze out of the south has pushed all that stuff up there but on any given day after a good storm you can find coves that look this bad and are packed with debris.

 

    

sorry, we're trying to flush that area to the west of you..

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2nd wave of water now hitting.

The 8" of rain hammering Central PA and NY above it Monday and  Tuesday have got the Susquehanna at 98% capacity for its length.

They opened the gates on Cownowingo dam at northen end of the bay this morning.

Debris is not as bad this time. Guess most the loose stuff got flushed 2 weeks ago.

http://www.wboc.com/story/38894361/second-wave-of-debris-pollution-enter-bay-after-conowingo-dam-opens-gates

https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?r=02&id=ww_current

 

 

 

 

image.png

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