A Huge Step Forward

From The Republican

Jul. 25, 2013

It seems that the state of Maryland may really be responding in a more proactive manner to the concerns and issues involving Deep Creek Lake – the state’s largest man-made body of water – and its watershed. The announcement made last night about the formation of a state-county partnership to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for the lake represents a huge step forward in addressing some of the current problems with the lake, as well as taking the necessary steps for its long-term preservation.

Along with the hiring of a consultant will be the creation of a lake steering committee, bringing to the table all of the players who should have been working together in this effort long before now. There are a number of agencies, organizations, and groups of individuals who all seem to have the same goal – to effectively take care of Garrett County’s greatest resource. However, a key piece that has been missing has been the mechanism for a unified, cooperative effort, all working together for the best interest of the lake and its future. The new committee should be that mechanism.

It is also hoped that this DCL partnership between the county and the state will ultimately lead to various new sources of state – and perhaps federal – funds that may be acquired to help cover the various costs of taking care of the lake. There has been much criticism directed toward the state of Maryland for not doing nearly enough to take care of this major asset, even though the state is its owner. Apparently the pressure that has been applied in the past few years, led primarily by the Friends of Deep Creek Lake and the Deep Creek Lake Property Owners Association, is finally making a difference.

Although the point has been made over and over in this column (for some, ad nauseum), it can’t hurt to state once again that Deep Creek Lake and all it brings to Garrett County (recreation, employment, the majority of county property tax revenue, etc.) is absolutely crucial to each and every resident of the county, regardless of their address. Therefore, each and every resident should be concerned about and interested in the long-term protection of the lake. We have no greater local resource.