Not So Smart Growth at Blackwater Refuge
Dear Bay Weekly:
As a Chesapeake Bay Foundation member and regular volunteer for the Oyster Restoration Project at Discovery Village in Shady Side, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight my concerns on Bay preservation.
I want to know how Gov. Robert Ehrlich is reconciling his $19.4 million initiative to clean up the mess that Centreville dumped into the Corsica River while allowing the town of Cambridge to usurp the Smart Growth law and build a 3,200 home subdivision, complete with golf course, hotel and conference center, on a 1,080-acre parcel of farms and wetlands leading directly to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Lawns and golf courses will certainly mean nutrient runoff. Roofs and roads mean water rushing to the streams and tributaries feeding the refuge. Why there of all places on the Eastern Shore? There are vast corn and soybean fields wherever you look, i.e. plenty of acreage to choose from that is distant from the Eastern Shore’s most pristine area and one of the most important estuaries left around the Bay.
The Department of Planning could have refused to endorse the plan but approved it instead. We need an explanation from Gov. Ehrlich as to why he acquiesced to this decision by one of his appointees.
Tom Horton’s “It’s a Pivotal Year for Maryland Land Protection” (The Sun, March 11, 2005), concluded with the omen, “Program Open Space could be reasserted as the national model for protection that it once was; or it could unravel beyond repair.” If the Cambridge project is allowed to go forward unquestioned by the state agency responsible for enforcement of the 1997 law, I fear the latter.
—William Wilson, Southern Anne Arundel County
Good Luck to Lake Lariat
Dear Bay Weekly:
I truly enjoyed B.C. Phillips article Putting Nature to Work [Vol. xiii, No. 41, Oct 13]. I’d never heard of Chesapeake Ranch Estates; amazing how one can live in an area and not hear of major populated areas. Phillips did a tremendous job making this an interesting and informative article about Lake Lariat and its woes. It’s great to hear that there are people dedicated enough to attempt to clean it up. I wish them luck and will look forward to reading about the progress, particularly their experience with using — and controlling — the Corbicula clams.
—Maureen Miller, St. Marys, Ga. (formerly of Galesville)