Deep Creek Lake was constructed to provide water for the Deep Creek Hydroelectric Station. The power plant, which entered into service in 1925, and the associated lake eventually became a center for recreation and tourism in Western Maryland. The power company has retained ownership of the dam and outlet structures, while the State became the owner of the lake bed and buffer strip around the Lake in 2000. The only way for water to safely leave Deep Creek Lake is through the intake tunnel and hydroelectric plant. In 1968, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a license for the power plant. In 1994, the FERC license was replaced by a State water appropriation permit. The current permit issued in September, 2020 by the Maryland Department of the Environment to Brookfield Power Piney & Deep Creek LLC regulates the release of water, and establishes an operating rule band to protect lake users' interests. In addition the Maryland Department of Natural Resources regulates recreational use on Deep Creek Lake.
The release of water from Deep Creek through the power plant has different impacts to different stakeholders. For the power plant it is a source of revenue, with greater revenue obtained for each release during peak electrical demands. Water releases during some years (particularly hot and dry years) result in some property owners being unable to use their boat docks during significant portions of the boating season. Downstream cold water fish benefit from the cold water releases, particularly when targeted to offset higher stream temperatures or low stream flow in the Youghiogheny River. Outfitters, recreational enthusiasts and downstream communities particularly benefit from scheduled full turbine releases for whitewater recreation during later spring and summer. The Maryland Department of the Environment's water appropriation permit attempts to balance all of these competing interests.
Links to External Sites
After receiving extensive input from the public and stakeholder representatives, and consideration of the application, the Water and Science Administration, Water Supply Program, has issued permit GA1992S009(09), effective on Septebmer 2, 2020. The Notice of Permit Decision, a Fact Sheet on Judicial Review, the Impact Analysis Summary, the Water Supply Program’s response to comments received, and a copy of the Permit are linked here.
For More InformationPlease contact the Water Supply Program at WATER.SUPPLY@maryland.gov or 410-537-3702
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230