The scenic and pristine Mattawoman Creek. Chesapeake Bay Program.

Smart Growth Alert: Take Action to Protect the Mattawoman Creek

09/17/2021
By Elly Colmers Cowan

Smart Growth Maryland and our partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County are standing in opposition to a proposed Amendment to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan that would rezone 558 acres of protected land within the Watershed Conservation District as Employment and Industrial Park District. The rezoning would result in increased development, the destruction of vital natural resources, and an increase in impervious surfaces.

The Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County initially voiced our objections to this amendment before it was submitted to the state clearinghouse for comment at the end of 2020, and, after reviewing the comments from state agencies voicing concerns about the amendment, we continue to stand in opposition.

Show Your Opposition: The Board of Charles County Commissioners will have their public hearing on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 6 pm.

SUBMIT A COMMENT

If you wish to speak during the meeting, Please call 301-885-2779 to register to speak during the public hearing. Registration to speak will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. on September 22, 2021.

 

The Amendment to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan proposes to rezone 558 acres from the Watershed Conservation District in the vicinity of the Maryland Airport. This rezoning has the potential to determine the future of the seriously threatened Mattawoman Creek that provides ecological services and supports a thriving outdoor and cultural tourism economy and a prominent fishery business. The removal of environmental protections for these lands will cause irreparable damage to the rich natural, agricultural, historic, and cultural elements of the Mattawoman Creek watershed by opening the properties up to development.

Besides the environmental benefits of protecting Mattawoman Creek, it is also economically beneficial to Charles County. Outdoor recreation is a proven economic driver throughout Maryland. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Maryland annually accounts for these good numbers:

● Generates $14 billion in consumer spending,
● Supports 109,000 jobs,
● Generates $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and
● Produces nearly $951 million annually in state and local tax revenue.

The Mattawoman watershed contains a nationally renowned fish habitat, and the recreational bass fishing industry in the Potomac alone is an outdoor tourism attraction that contributes to the local economy. Additionally, Mattawoman Creek provides critical habitat, wetlands, and good water quality of the new Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary.

Economic development and environmental protections are not mutually exclusive. This Amendment to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan – Maryland Airport is not the right move for Charles County, and that is reflected by many of the comments from various state agencies that call into question the need and wisdom of the amendment. As the County looks towards economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and encouraging economic development, it needs to be supporting the conservation of outdoor destinations that are part of the lucrative outdoor tourism industry.

If you are unable to attend the Board of Charles County Commissioners public hearing on September 22, you can still voice your opposition to the proposed amendment by submitting a comment by clicking the link below, or comments may also be emailed directly to Commissioners@CharlesCountyMD.gov.

The deadline for comment submission is 4:00 pm on Wednesday, September 22.

SUBMIT A COMMENT

SAMPLE COMMENT EMAIL

 

 

Elly Colmers Cowan · Director of Government Relations

Elly Cowan works at the local, state, and federal levels to advance the historic preservation, smart growth, and community development policies that make Preservation Maryland's work possible.

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