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La Plata – The undisputed truth about the fate of the Mattawoman Creek – and its economic value – became increasingly clear in a shocking report that was presented to the Board of Commissioners about the current and future health of the estuary if Charles continues to embrace sprawl development, and fails to recognize the economic value of its natural resources, especially the Mattawoman.
In an interview with We Make It News, Tony Redman, an expert with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, cautioned: “If we trash the estuary [Mattawoman Creek], we lose the revenue.”
Interestingly, the report follows a series of decisions made by a majority of the county’s Planning Commission who are recklessly, by many people’s accounts, setting aside facts, science and modern planning practices, so they can rubberstamp ongoing policies that endorse 2006 growth-management and land-use policies.
The PC also recently voted to keep an option for the Cross County Connector, which has been denied state and federal permits, in the revamped comprehensive plan. That decision came after a presentation by Jason Groth of the county’s Planning and Growth Management Department that, strangely, was not dismissive of including the future road in the plan even though it has been rejected by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The Interagency Report was prepared by the DNR with help from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Maryland Department of Planning, the Maryland Department of the Environment and Maryland’s State Highway Administration.
The report says that the Mattawoman Creek, based on 2007 data, contributed an estimated $40 million in tourism revenue to the county, but is showing signs of damage from pollution caused by the county’s rapid pace of development. A major highlight of the report was a finding that the “2006 Comprehensive Plan, if implemented, [will] result in over 20% impervious surface at build-out” – which is a sad statistic considering that experts point to a 7 percent (and above) threshold of impervious cover as negatively impacting important Bay watersheds and tributaries.
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