Letter to the Editor, 7/24/13

DNR has just presented a process for undertaking watershed planning for DCL. As the lake’s watershed organization, we celebrate this new approach and its announcement during National Lake Appreciation Month.

The “watershed approach to lake management”, called for by Secretary Griffin in November 2011, demands a partnership between the State and the County and hopefully involves all of us living in the watershed. We appreciate the willingness of our Commissioners to become involved.

We have two recommendations to DNR policy makers which will substantially strengthen the state side of this partnership.

The first is to undertake a thorough review of all DNR programs to determine which are currently limited for the Chesapeake Bay but are needed at Deep Creek Lake. Top on our list is shoreline protection to prevent erosion. DNR must stop the absurd process which makes those who improvement shoreline protection pay a hefty fee to another state agency.  DNR  already has “Living Shorelines”, which provides financial support for installation of stabilizing grasses in the Bay. This public program should be made available for use at Deep Creek Lake, not just the Bay.

Another place to look is the Chesapeake Bay Trust, funded by the purchase of “treasure the Bay” license plates.  The Trust has a grant category for living shorelines, but, no surprise here,  it is only available for the Bay. The DNR Secretary sit on the Trust Board and could help to open grant funds for lakes.

The other step is to  tour of the lake in mid-August. County Administrator Pagenhardt did in 2010 and reported “I can see why folks are very angry.”  It is one thing to sit at a desk and review the data, limited as it is, and another to view what lake property owners experience as their increasing loss of recreational use and enjoyment of the lake.

Governor O’Malley proclaimed July as Maryland Lake Appreciation Month. In this proclamation he acknowledged “our lakes and reservoirs improve the quality of life for all of Maryland residents and their importance should not go unnoticed”.   We welcome attention DNR policy makers have given to DCL particularly in the past 3 years. We welcome the watershed approach proposed by the County and DNR, knowing this framework is necessary to work for a sustainable future for the Lake. We also do need to move beyond studies and planning into implementation of programs and investment.