The Dernogalizer

December 3, 2009

Good News on the Mattawoman

I’ve written multiple columns and blog posts about saving Mattawoman Creek by preventing the construction of the Cross County Connector, a highway which would cut across the Creek.  You can find out more information on this issue from this post and this column.  I’ve just gotten an e-mail from the Sierra Club saying the state’s decision on whether or not to issue the permit for this road has been postponed to April for a third time, insisting on greater details the impact of the highway would have on two endangered species.  Below is the e-mail.

Dear Sierrans and Friends of the Mattawoman,

I just wanted to get to you quickly to let you know the good news.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has just postponed its Dec. 1st

decision on the Charles County Connector. (This is the unnecessary highway that

would cut across the upper Mattawoman, bringing with it sprawl development which

would effectively kill the river’s sensitive species.)

MDE is hearing our environmental objections. In its letter to Charles county,

MDE insists that the county complete studies of the impact of the highway on two

endangered species in the wetlands it would destroy. It postpones the decision

until an undetermined date in the spring of 2010. It’s the third time that MDE

has had to push the decision back.

This is just a postponement, but it gives us time to involve more citizens and

to let the state government know that protecting the Mattawoman is essential to

protecting the Bay. We’ll be in touch about next steps…

Thanks for doing your part.

Alana Wase

Maryland Chapter Conservation Program Coordinator

P.S. Here’s a blog where you read about the postponement and comment

May 26, 2009

Protect the Mattawoman Creek

One important local issue that has been taking place in Maryland involves the Mattawoman Creek.  There’s a proposal in Charles County for the Cross County Connector(CCC) a 6.5 mile four land highway that would plow across the full width of the sensitive Mattawoman Creek Watershed.  However, before the highway can be built, the Maryland Department of Environment(MDE) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have to issue a wetlands destructions permit.  

The Mattawoman Creek is a very important habitat.  It’s the healthiest fish nursery in the Chesapeake Bay since it’s protected by surrounding forests and wetlands.  This highway proposal would destroy the Mattawoman Creek by increasing traffic, development, and pavement in its watershed.  The creek has also been ranked as the fourth most endangered river in the country.  There is some very good and informative press about this issue here and here.  If you would like to give input on the preservation of Mattawoman Creek, please email MDE Secretary Shari Wilson today at <> (or call 410-537-3084) and ask MDE to deny the permits for the proposed Cross County Connector extension in Charles county.  I’m going to put some notable excerpts below from the articles I’ve cited to give a sense of what’s at stake.  If you’d like to do more, check out the Mattawoman Watershed Society\’s website.

“The opponents say they have yet to see anyone build a road without damaging a stream.”

“One of the Chesapeake Bay’s few remaining healthy streams could soon be seriously degraded if a plan to build a major highway moves forward.  This threat landed Mattawoman Creek in the number four spot in America’s Most Endangered Rivers: 2009 edition. The listing was announced today in a press conference on the banks of the creek by American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization, and by local advocates.”

” The Army Corps of Engineers stated that intense development of the watershed would have “severe repercussions on the biological community and would decrease the habitat quality within the estuary.” Also at risk is the economic loss of the county’s “natural” infrastructure — the healthy forests, wetlands and floodplains that filter water, provide natural flood protection, and contribute to the overall health of the Bay.”

“Nestled among still-extensive forests in this growing region, Mattawoman Creek sustains a thriving recreation industry and is one of the region’s largest tourist draws. Kayaking and canoeing are prized experiences on the creek’s quiet tidal waters, while scores of bass fishing tournaments are launched from its shores every year as part of the Potomac River’s internationally-renowned, multimillion-dollar largemouth bass fishery.”

“You have to ask yourself, are we willing to sacrifice Mattawoman Creek?” said Bonnie Bick, an outspoken member of the Mattawoman Watershed Society who has opposed the road since the plan’s inception. “The value of the creek outweighs the county’s need for infrastructure in that area. … The future of the Chesapeake is in danger.”

“It’s a poster child situation,” Long said. He said that if the county and the state cannot save the Mattawoman, one of the bay’s most productive fish hatcheries and one of the last in anything approaching pristine condition, “then where are you ever going to protect the Chesapeake Bay?”

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