Mission Statement

promoting stewardship, conservation and restoration in Deep Creek Lake and its watershed
Our mission reflects the State management mandate for the lakes “protection of the lake as a natural resource, the preservation of its ecological balance and furtherance of its highest use as a recreational resource...” (COMAR
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Who We Are

We are a watershed organization reflecting the fact Deep Creek Lake is a component of an evolving watershed-wide eco-system Sustainability of the lake must be based on research, assessment, planning and program implementation using the broader watershed approach. MD Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin articulated the same perspective recently when he urged the County Commissioners to “adopt a broad watershed approach”.

Our work relies on volunteers, extensive contributions for our Working Board and an unpaid Director.

Friends of Deep Creek Lake is incorporated as a non-profit organization. Our primary source of financial support is from individuals. Business donors have made direct contributions and have been generous with in-kind support as well. We have been successful in receiving various grants to support our work. Grant sources include the Center for Watershed Protection, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Constellation Energy, Garrett County Civic Club, and Exxon-Mobil.

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Lake and Watershed Monitoring

We recruit, train and organize volunteers for water monitoring:

  • Hundreds of hours of volunteer time.
  • Over 50 new “citizen scientists” trained.
  • Volunteers are diverse – Girl Scouts,  Garrett College students, lake property owners and businessmen.
  • Volunteers enhance agency capacity in most cost effective approach.


For 2 years we have organized volunteers to be Stream Waders, sampling macro-invertebrates, excellent indicators of water quality.

Over 60 volunteers have sampled 80+ stream sites feeding the lake. Our samples are analyzed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Working with DNR, we launched Off Your Dock! to sample lake turbidity. Twenty volunteers collected data in 2010. Turbidity is one of the key measures of water quality.

Working with the County, State Highway Administration (SHA), and Garrett College, we  launched the Culvert Assessment Project to locate road culverts channeling run-off into the lake.

Support for Research and Analysis

Friends of Deep Creek Lake has made a major contribution to lake and watershed research and analysis:

  • We obtained $50,000 in research grants.
  • We recruited nationally known watershed scientists.
  • We work closely with DNR and other state agencies to shape projects and communicate findings to the public.
In 2009, we secured funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust for a Stream Assessment conducted by the Center for Watershed Protection
Volunteer collects soil sample. The cows cross the stream daily, causing high nutrient run which flows into nearby lake cove, producing algal blooms and poor water quality.
A grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust underwrote work with the UMd/EcoCheck to analyze existing watershed research. We produced a State of the Watershed Report Card and hosted a Community Forum.

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Compliance with Federal, State, and Local Laws and Regulations

We reported purple liquid in open storm drain to MDE. It was determined to be a toxic chemical. The owner was fined and a 13 year practice of dumping this chemical into the lake was stopped.


We reported this road side dump impacting lower Deep Creek. The County stopped the dumping, fined the owner and created barriers to prevent further dumping.


We reported these blue green algal blooms on DNR wetlands, found during 2010 Stream Wader sampling. No action has been taken.

Community Education, Program, and Materials

150 people attended our State of the Watershed Forum in August,  hearing presentations from lead academics, Dr. Heath Kelsey, and top DNR scientist, Bruce Michael.
Top DNR scientist, Bruce Michael, at State of the Watershed Forum
Lady of the Lake at Earth Day, an example of community education in 2010

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Public Policy, Analysis, and Advocacy

In February, 2010, Board members met with top DNR staff. We  delivered a petition sign by 145 stakeholders urging action on sediment. Secretary Griffin made a commitment to address sediment accumulation– a welcomed change in public policy.
DNR announced the Sediment Plan at our Community Forum in August and released a map of coves to be studies. We are carefully monitoring plan implementation and have advised neighborhood groups on options.
We work in Annapolis with our State delegation, other members of the General Assembly and State agency staff. We serve as a voice for mountain Maryland within the Environmental Summit. We monitor legislation and have testified on bills.

The Challenges Ahead

At our Watershed Forum, DNR Secretary Griffin described the challenges ahead.

“From everything we know, the lake does not have any imminent problems. There are some warning signs, if you will, that we want to pay more attention to… I don’t see any smoking guns, thankfully, in terms of lake health that would cause alarm at the moment…”
“All the better reason to get ahead of the problem as opposed to letting it develop and then have a major price tag which no one seems to be able to fund and a declining lake and declining economy around it. I can assure you that none of us or you want to see this to happen…”
“We are in a good position, if we just work together, be better stewards, do things we all need to do— government, citizens in this watershed.” -Secretary John Griffin, 8/7/10
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