Friends of DCL is spending the summer mobilizing lake property owners to advocate for allocation of funds for the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, recently signed into law by the Governor. We worked hard to get the Fund bill through the General Assembly because no such state funding mechanism exists for DCL nor other state-owned lakes.
Here is text of Letter to Editor by Barbara Beelar, FoDCL Director, which recently ran in The Republican Newspaper.
We love our lake recreational opportunities and it’s setting in beautiful Garrett County. We also are aware DCL is the economic engine for the regional economy. Unfortunately, for those of who have been around for a while, it is becoming increasingly clear parts of the lake are sorely in need of restoration.
Restoration requires investment. Residential and commercial business owners know properties need maintenance and aging properties need upgrading to prevent decline and loss of value. Prudent owners create a “rain day” fund to cover big ticket item needing replacement. There’s really no difference between the best property management practices for homes and businesses and those for natural resources. As owner, the State has not maintained the lake nor is there a “rainy day” funding to remedy 92 years of neglect and it needs help now. I hope our Governor gets this.
I also hope he grasps the reality of the state of the lake. On the surface, the lake sparkles; it is what is happening below the surface and in the far coves which should motivate Hogan to act to save the lake.
Elsewhere in Maryland, various waterway restoration funds exist to allocate state monies (read our taxes). We pay the flush tax but receive no funding. The major funding program–the 2010 Trust Fund- excludes the Youghiogheny watershed from funding. DCL property owners buy “Treasure the Bay” plates but the grants prioritize the Bay. The boats we buy carry a 5% excise tax which funds the Waterway Improvement Fund, which until last year, was not available for DCL dredging. I could go on!
All we want is fair and equal treatment for DCL and other state owned lakes. During the O’Malley administration, Friends of DCL delivered a petition asking for fair funding for DCL signed by 1604 folks, the majority of whom were full time Garrett County residents, not just lake people.
Now there is the new State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, thanks to Senator Edward and Delegate Beitzel. But there’s no funding in the Fund! So again we are in position of having to ask the state that DCL be treated fairly and adopt a business approach to restoration of this state-owned property. We are encouraging folks to contact Hogan and ask for DCL funding. It is only fair. If the State doesn’t want to invest in lake restoration, maybe the state should consider selling it.
There is no doubt the lake needs state investment and restoration. Below are photos from a Boat Tour of Pawn Run on August 20, 2010. As of end of July, 2017, there is no plan, no action nor restoration project which addresses the range of negative impacts seen in these photos. During the tour, then County Administrator commented: “I can see why property owners are very mad.”