Testimony

As part of our mission to advocate for the protection and restoration of Mattawoman Creek, other local watersheds, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay, MWS often testifies at hearings and provides written comments concerning land-use plans, development proposals, and ordinances and legislation.

As part of our mission to educate on the many issues affecting our waters, we make available selected written testimonies that MWS has submitted on behalf of those who care about the aesthetic, recreational, and economic opportunities that our waterways provide.

Wildlands nominations (pdf), testimony to Maryland legislative committees. February 2014.

In 2014, for the 1st time in eleven years, Maryland is proposing new Wildland designations for state-owned areas that have outstanding aesthetic or ecological value.  With approval of the 23 new areas by the state legislature, only 10% of all public lands will be celebrated with a Wildland designation.

Two nominations affect Mattawoman Creek directly. These contiguous areas will protect the stellar natural assets that led thousands to propel the Campaign to Save Chapman Forest to success when Governor Glendening and the Conservation Fund saved the land from devel-opment in 1998.  A Wildlands designation holds great meaning to those who have since learned of the out-standing historical and natural assets of this special gem.

A brochure about the Chapman Forest and Mattawoman Expansion Wildland nominations can be downloaded here (pdf). 


Draft Charles County Comprehensive Plan (pdf) to the Board of County Commissioners

Land-use policies established in past Comprehensive Plans are degrading Mattawoman Creek. The draft plan continues this course: if enacted, the future would see the same amount of pavement draining to Mattawoman as now drains to the Anacostia River.  The draft plan presented at the hearing to which these comments respond has earned unprecedented rebuke from state agencies for its promotion of sprawl development, its rejection of smart growth, and its rejection of protecting natural resources, including Mattawoman. State agencies call it "the wrong choice," and note it will cost $2 billion more than a smart growth plan would.

Draft Chesapeake Bay Agreement (pdf), to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement guides Bay restoration and ecosystem protection efforts among the six Bay watershed states and the District of Columbia. First signed in 1983, the Agreement has been revised several times since. This revision follows recognition in 2009 that progress has been falling behind, and aims to implement measures to pick up the pace. The history of this foundational agreement can be learned here.

MWS comments focus on the crucial issue of land-use, which is presently the greatest threat to Mattawoman. With the Bay watershed losing 100 acres of forest per day to development, and with impervious surface increasing five times faster than population, watershed urbanization is also threatening the Bay at large. Therefore, we and others believe it should receive specific attention in this new Bay Agreement.

Charles County Comprehensive Plan (pdf), to the county Planning Commission.

Land-use policies in Charles County are degrading Mattawoman Creek. Because the Comprehensive Plan is the key to these land-use policies, it is an issue for MWS. The draft plan presented at the hearing to which these comments respond has earned unprecedented rebuke from state agencies for its promotion of sprawl development, its rejection of smart growth, and its rejection of protecting natural resources, including Mattawoman. State agencies call it "the wrong choice," and note it will cost $2 billion more than a smart growth plan would.

Waldorf Crossing (pdf): testimony responding to a public notice by the Army Corps of Engineers on a wetland destruction permit.

Waldorf Crossing is proposed development where U.S. 301 crosses Mattawoman Creek in Waldorf, at the county line between Charles and Prince George's Counties.  The site is key to revitalizing Waldorf, but unfortunately falls far short as a Transit Oriented Development, and imparts unacceptable adverse impacts to Mattawoman and its wetlands and tributaries. See also our article on this proposal for more information.


MS4 draft permit (pdf) for Prince George's County, to the Maryland Department of the Environment.
  
The permit for a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System is required under the Clean Water Act and is administered by MDE. This draft permit will serve as a template for other counties. It is reputed to be a means for meeting state obligations to reduce pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Despite some improvements to the permit, it still falls far short of actually requiring a reduction in pollution, instead focusing primarily on reports and plans.