Waterkeepers Chesapeake

Protecting Water Quality and Aquatic Life in the Chesapeake Bay


The Conowingo Dam on the lower Susquehanna River has caused debris, nutrient, and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay for decades. When the Exelon Corporation filed to renew its 50-year license to operate the dam, Waterkeepers Chesapeake took legal action to make sure the agreement protected water quality and aquatic life in the bay. The group also pushed for state legislation to ensure that the company contributes sufficient resources to clean the polluted waterways.


Design & Creative
Digital Strategies
Media Relations
Messaging & Branding
Policy Outreach
Strategic Communications

Our Strategy

The Hatcher Group helped Waterkeepers Chesapeake communicate its position regarding the Conowingo Dam through a strategic messaging framework and materials targeting policymakers. In the fall of 2019, when the Maryland Department of the Environment announced a settlement agreement with Exelon that did not take necessary environmental protections into account, we helped Waterkeepers Chesapeake respond rapidly via expanded media coverage and op-eds.

Our Impact

  • Educated federal and state policymakers on needed environmental protections
  • Placed opinion pieces in influential media outlets, including The Baltimore Sun, Chesapeake Bay Journal, Maryland Matters, and the York Daily Record
  • Increased online activism to support Waterkeepers’ legal actions
  • Boosted media coverage and public awareness of Maryland’s flawed Conowingo Dam settlement, as well as of the bipartisan 2020 legislation aimed at blocking the settlement
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