Our Annual Report for 2015 is available here! (1.6 MB pdf)
The Mattawoman Watershed Society, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring Mattawoman Creek, its tributaries, its watershed, and its living resources for the enjoyment of all.
Ours is a worthy endeavor: Maryland fisheries biologists have characterized Mattawoman as “the best, most productive tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.”
However, land-use policies over the last two decades are eroding the health of Mattawoman. Scientists now say that the waterway is at a “turning point” and that development policies “should be reconsidered in light of declines in the fish community.”
Clearly, to ensure the health of this vibrant and beautiful place for present and future generations will require determined effort, and that is our purpose.
Toward this end, we conduct research and sponsor activities to educate the
public, other organizations, and government agencies in understanding the
importance of Mattawoman Creek and its watershed to the Potomac River, to the
Chesapeake Bay, and to the citizens of Maryland.
Mattawoman Watershed Society Annual Report for 2015 can be downloaded here.
Preservation & Conservation
Chapman Forest In the 1990’s, our predecessor organization, the Friends of Mattawoman Creek, helped with many allies to save Chapman Forest, which was threatened by a mega-development. In 1998 the site was purchased by the state of Maryland with help from the Conservation Fund. Today, people enjoy this special place as Chapman State Park, Chapman Wildlands, and Mattawoman Wildlands. The preservation of the 1400 acres draining to Mattawoman was bolstered when our volunteers discovered River Herring spawning in a tributary flowing from Chapman Forest.
Preserve at Greenspring...preserved! In the 2000’s, MWS was instrumental in spotlighting a Charles County ordinance that was promoting a proposed mega-development called the Preserve at Greenspring in rural Pomfret, MD. This sensitive forested site of almost 1000 acres, much of it in Mattawoman’s stream valley, was subsequently preserved by Maryland and Charles County, and the ordinance eventually repealed.
Cross County Connector
rejected With our allies in the Smarter
Growth Alliance for Charles County, MWS was successful in
compelling state and federal permitting-agencies to fully investigate the
direct and growth-inducing impacts of Charles County’s
proposal to extend a Cross County Connector highway across the Mattawoman
watershed. The highway would have induced such massive sprawl development that
American Rivers declared Mattawoman the 4th most endangered river in the nation
in 2009. The permitting agencies consequently denied wetland-destruction
permits for the highway after finding, in the words of the Army Corps of
Engineers, that the highway “was contrary to the public interest” and that a
better alternative existed.
Charles County Comprehensive Plan greatly improved On July 12, 2016, after an intense five-year public process to revise the comprehensive land-use plan, Charles County Commissioners Peter Murphy, Ken Robinson and Amanda Stewart let it be known they had listened. This majority of elected officials adopted a new common-sense comprehensive
plan. The plan steers the county away from past policies that for a quarter century promoted sprawl development. The rampant growth brought Mattawoman Creek to the tipping point for
irretrievable degradation when about 10% of its watershed was paved with roofs, roads, and parking lots. MWS played a big role in the reversal, working constantly over the five years to educate the public and county officials. Volunteers voiced concerns at visioning sessions and charettes, collected petitions, staffed tenting events, gave presentations to forums and civic organizations, and raised funds for direct mail pieces advertising the many hearings.
There remains much more to do! And much to enjoy!
Please learn from our website about Mattawoman’s many outstanding qualities,
and the many issues that continue to threaten its well being. Then,
won’t you please join us in celebrating and enjoying this valuable waterway,
and in protecting it for the future? Please contact us: mattawomanwatershed (at) hotmail.com, or through our contact page.