FoDCL Fact Sheet: Sediment Removal— Successes and Challenges Ahead
In 2015: Secured change in Maryland Law to include “dredging ponds, lakes and reservoirs owned by the state” opening Waterway Improvement Fund dredging monies to be used for first time since its creation in 1966.
Budget earmarking of $250,000 for DCL. DNR used $88,610 on study, which was not focused on impaired coves.
FoDCL made presentations to various homeowner associations about state of lake, sediment impairment including decline of water quality, recreational use and negative economic impacts.
In 2016: FoDCL campaign in support for a Sediment Management Plan with demonstration project in one cove. Letter writing campaign; achieved support from Garrett County Commissioners and Town of Friendsville.
DNR Secretary Belton: “ based on the desire of many local citizens and the Garrett County local government, DNR will evaluate and consider dredging projects at DCL as provided for in state law regarding the Waterway Improvement Fund “
“DNR still believes dredging at DCL to have a negative impact on the DCL ecosystem– include a redistribution of nutrients into the water column, the removal of beneficial submerged aquatic vegetation, a pathway for invasive species, and impacts to fish breeding areas.”
DCL reality: 1) turbidity of coves increasing according to DNR, stirred up sediment and nutrients into water column. DNR has refused to do water quality sampling in the impaired coves; will not place no wake buoys to reduce redistribution; 2) all 10 coves have at least one Aquatic Invasive Species plants and SAV beds are declining in growing mud flats; and 3) fisheries declining due to shoaling in coves, warming of lake waters and decline of water quality.
Balance of FY 16 funds ($161,390) provided to Garrett County for development of the Waterway Improvement Fund, contracting with Maryland Environmental Services to do sediment management plan. Completion c 7/17.
Another $250,000 earmarked for DCL dredging, part of state match for cover cost of dredging.
No channels. Waterway Improvement Fund supports “dredging channels and harbors and construction of jetties and breakwaters”. DCL does not have channels. Need to dredge full area of accumulation in the coves. We are faced with trying to fix what is needed for lake dredging into an existing Bay-defined program.
Funds. This is a state owned lake and legally the state is responsible for protecting the natural and recreational resources. If State determines the County must pay 50%– it is unlikely dredging will proceed. Other option: tax district puts burden on lake property owners; should be all users and beneficiaries not just property owners.
On-going lobbying. Creation of a united voice, a cove coalition, is necessary to sustain pressure, monitor progress and inform and engage those in impacted coves as well as larger lake stakeholder community.