Volume 14, Issue 45 ~ November 9 - November 15, 2006

Way Downstream

In Cambridge, hundreds of acres of critical area land near Blackwater Wildlife Refuge will be spared. The state has decided to purchase 754 acres planned as part of the controversial 1,080-acre Blackwater Resort Community in Dorchester County. Most of the remaining 326 acres will be bulldozed as planned for a single-family adult community of more than 600 homes.

Bought with $10.4 million of Program Open Space funds, the purchase adds to Dorchester’s 8,000 already preserved acres. The League of Conservation Voters noted that Gov. Robert Ehrlich waited until the day before Election Day to make the surprise purchase …

A second polluted river watershed will soon follow Corscia River into the restoration spotlight under Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s high-profile coordinated effort to remove a Chesapeake Bay tributary from the EPA’s List of Impaired Waters. Last week, the list was shortened to four: the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County; Lower Gunpowder in Baltimore County; Port Tobacco River in Charles County and Bynum Run in Harford County. Maryland departments of Natural Resources and the Environment will announce the winner of the watershed extreme makeover before year’s end …

In Maryland wine country, you’ll soon be toasting with more local vintages. Wineries get another financial boost from the state as the Board of Public Works — that’s trio Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer — handed $147,000 in grants to the Maryland Grape Growers Association and the Maryland Wineries Association. Money came from the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund, established in 2005 to help grow and get the word out about Maryland wine. So far, $250,000 has been spent on the job …

Our Creature Feature comes from the Baltimore Zoo, where the penguins are about to go big-time with the Nov. 17 release of the movie Happy Feet with voices of Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and others. The zoo is teaming up with filmmakers to promote the wonders of African penguins, 50 of which reside at the Zoo’s Rock Island.

Starting this week, the Baltimore birds will be having their own reality show under the eye of the Happy Feet Penguin Cam. Two of the zoo’s baby penguins are being named Gloria and Mumble after the movie’s characters.

Rumor has it that in the film, Mumble can’t sing. We suggest you visit Baltimore or check out the Web site, www.marylandzoo.org, to see if Maryland’s Mumble can carry a tune.

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