Charles County Comprehensive Plan Revision
While we watch, Charles County's land-use polices are degrading Mattawoman Creek. The policies have also placed Charles County on the bottom rung for property tax rate, use of school trailers, commute time, teacher pay, and more.
To fix these problems, county staff consulted the public in an exhaustive year long process in 2011. With enthusiastic public support, they created a revised plan with Smart Growth principles. But the Planning Commission ignored it, in favor of a costly plan based on a septic/sewer plan (the "Tier Map") produced by a lobby of land speculators slyly calling themselves the Balanced Growth Initiative, or "BGI." The draft plan would destroy the Mattawoman and maintain Charles County's position on the bottom rungs, but a majority of the Planning Commission passed it on to the elected Board of County Commissioners.
UPDATE: At a packed public hearing before the Commissioners on October 29, 2013, citizens trounced draft plan, with speakers opposed 3 to 1. Written comments following the hearing were even more lopsided, with only 30 in support of the plan and 2000 opposed.
With such strong public opposition, the three commissioners who usually favor the developers' lobby BGI voted to appoint a special workgroup of their choosing to revise the draft plan. Knowing this was an oft-used approach to avoid accountability, the two commissioners known for listening to the public strongly objected.
The special workgoup has three strong proponents for BGI, and three highly regarded objective members. With these odds, can the workgroup do good work? Read our letter to the editor here.
The workgroup is scheduled to present to the Charles County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday March 4.
What you can do:
-Please sign the petition at the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County.
-Like the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County Facebook page.
-See land-use issues under "Our Issues."
See Video of informed testimony on the comp plan by the Conservation Director of Maryland Bass Nation who knows 1st hand what's at stake.
Wildlands legislation was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly on January 21, as Housebill 296 and Senate Bill 336. Hearings were held on February 4th and 5th before the House of Delegates' Environmental Matters committee and Senate's Education Health and Environmental Affairs committee.
On Valentine's Day, the State Senate unanimously passed the Wildlands Bill. On Feb 25, the House of Delegates pass a different version of the bill 99-36. The two bodies must now work out differences.
Two candidates among the 23 new nominations directly affect Mattawoman Creek: the Mattawoman Expansion and Chapman Forest Wildlands. Please be prepared to support this important initiative to better protect the "best of the best" of our public lands.
"...we need the tonic of Wildness." Henry David Thoreau
-The Wildlands program described by the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service.
-Download a brochure about the Mattawoman Expansion & Chapman Forest Wildlands.
-Download MWS testimony to the Maryland General Assembly.
Click each title for more information
More information here.
Featuring water-themed paintings by Lynn Mehta, Sally V.Parker, and Barbara Stepura.*
Mattawoman Creek Art Center
February 14-March 16
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays 11 am - 4 pm
*Artist Barbara Stepura is also a volunteer with the Mattawoman Watershed Society.
The Mattawoman Art Center is located at the entrance to Smallwood State Park on the Mattawoman freshwater estuary. For directions, check out our See the Mattawoman page.
Conserving Maryland's High Quality Waters - From Monitoring to Action
The Maryland Water Monitoring Council conference was held on December 5. MWS and the Maryland Fisheries Service presented a poster: What lurks in the submerged aquatic vegetation?
It reported our volunteer work assisting the Dept. of Natural Resources to measure dissolved oxygen levels in the estuary. Surprisingly, oxygen levels were low in the "SAV" beds, especially near shore.
Co-authors Jim Long (president of MWS) and Margaret McGinty (DNR fisheries biologist) pose with the poster.
Photo: Bonnie Bick