Uncertain future for Mattawoman Creek, one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2009

Six months after 'Most Endangered River' listing, outlook is mixed for future of overdevelopment protections

October 20th, 2009

<P>Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, 202-243-7077<BR>Katherine Baer, American Rivers, 202-347-7550<BR>Jim Long, Mattawoman Watershed Society, 301-283-0447<BR>Bonnie Bick, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, 301-752-9612<BR>Tom Zolper, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 443-482-2066</P>

Maryland — Six months after American Rivers named Mattawoman Creek one of America’s Most Endangered RiversTM for 2009, the future of the river’s protection from overdevelopment pressures still hangs in the balance.

The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are still considering applications for key permits needed for the Cross County Connector extension (CCC-ex).  The agencies must deny these permits for the proposed highway to protect one of the Chesapeake Bay’s few remaining healthy streams.

“The only place this highway will lead is to dirty water, more traffic, and poorly planned development,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “Mattawoman Creek is a treasure of the Chesapeake Bay and we must keep it that way by growing smarter, with 21st century options that don’t compromise our clean drinking water, public health, and recreational economy.”

In May, MDE postponed a decision on the highway from May 31st to December 1st to assess information provided by Charles County.  That the state has not issued a permit reflects the public pressure brought by those opposing the highway.

In addition, the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County issued a report, Trouble Ahead—Use Alternate Routes, highlighting the threats to Mattawoman by the highway proposal, the growth it would induce, and smart-growth alternatives that would protect the creek and help the county prosper.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, has held two hearings on reauthorizing the Chesapeake Bay Program, listed in the Clean Water Act, which would increase protection of the healthy Mattawoman watershed.

Moving forward, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley must request that the Corps prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the full economic, social, and environmental cost of the CCC-ex and associated development.

To learn more, visit www.AmericanRivers.org/EndangeredRivers

About America’s Most Endangered Rivers™
Each year, the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report highlights the rivers facing the most uncertain futures. The report presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.

The America’s Most Endangered Rivers Report results in thousands of supporters taking action on behalf of their beloved river. Such action produces immediate and tangible results. To see success stories visit www.AmericanRivers.org/MERSuccesses



About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.