Major Wins in Legislation Session
CBF and its partners had remarkable success
this year in the 2012 legislative session which
ended April 9th. The General Assembly
passed funding bills to finish upgrading the
state’s 67 largest sewage plants and to improve
badly neglected local stormwater facilities. The
stormwater bill passed dramatically with only
minutes remaining in the session.
General Assembly passed
Bay-friendly funding bills
for sewage treatment plants
and stormwater facilities.
Maryland’s 2010 Oyster Restoration and
Aquaculture Development Plan. CBF has
worked actively to support the plan, and has
mentored watermen who want to farm oysters. Governor O’Malley included $8 million
for oyster restoration in his recent budget.
river in America because of threats posed by
the road. The creek has long been considered
one of the best nurseries for migratory fish in
the entire Chesapeake Bay.
Fighting Farmland Conversion
In difficult economic times, Governor
O’Malley, and legislative leaders in the
Senate and House, demonstrated considerable courage and insight by investing in pollution reduction. The investments are
expected to create thousands of jobs, and to
help make Maryland waters safe for swimming and fishing by 2025.
Good News for Oysters
Maryland’s annual fall oyster survey found
that 92 percent of oysters sampled were
alive, the highest survival rate since 1985.
There may not be a lot of homes or businesses being built in a tight real estate market,
but there are major attempts to open farmland to developers when they’re ready. In
recent months, CBF joined local conservation groups in filing two separate lawsuits to
block Queen Anne’s and Frederick Counties
from rezoning large tracts of farmland to
Lawmakers also approved legislation to reduce
sprawl development of farms and forests and
to sustain level funding for farmers and local
governments to reduce pollution. CBF-sup-ported legislation that did not succeed included bills encouraging the development of wind
energy off Maryland’s coast, reducing plastic
bag litter, and requiring drillers to help pay for
a study of controversial hydraulic fracturing.
In 2011, there were high river flows that
reduced salinities throughout the Bay. While
this led to high mortalities on some upper
Bay bars, oysters fared well throughout most
of Maryland’s waters. The lower salinity also
reduced disease to record lows.
Mattawoman Creek Permits Denied
With urging from CBF and its members,
both the Maryland Department of the
Environment and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers recently denied key wetlands
permits for the Cross-County Connector, a
proposed four-lane highway in Charles
County that would have bisected
Mattawoman Creek and opened a large
rural area to development. The denials will
save the county millions of dollars and the
Mattawoman Creek watershed from the
potentially disastrous impacts of the proposed roadway. The denials also represent a
rare victory when it comes to challenging
damaging roadway projects.
The trend toward increasing oyster survival
was documented in CBF’s 2010 report,
On the Brink: Chesapeake’s Native Oysters
Queen Anne’s County is trying to open 600
acres of farmland in what appears to be a violation of state and local land-use law. On one
216-acre parcel in Wye Mills alone, the county’s action could create almost four-million-square feet of industrial, office, and commercial structures—the equivalent of 19
Walmart Supercenters, according to the
county’s own staff projections. The Frederick
County Board of Commissioners is in the
process of rezoning or changing land use
designation on potentially 25,000 acres.
uFor more information about these and other
Maryland activities, visit cbf.org/maryland.
These findings, on top of the very good oyster reproduction seen in 2010, bode well for
the newly established sanctuaries and growing aquaculture industry initiated by
TOM ZOLPER/CBF STAFF
Charles County Commissioners voted not to
commit any new funds to the project.
Two years ago, American Rivers listed the
Mattawoman as the fourth most endangered
Governor Martin O’Malley, Speaker of the House Michael Busch, and Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the
House Environmental Matters Committee, took a moment during the legislative schedule to recognize
Kim Coble for her years of service as CBF Maryland Executive Director. Kim now serves CBF across the
watershed as Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration.