Protect the 10 Mile Creek Watershed
July 6, 2009
The 10 Mile Creek watershed in Clarksburg, Maryland, contains some of the most healthy drinking water in our area. It's included in a county-designated "Special Protection Area." Since 1994, however, massive development in the town of Clarksburg has savaged local streams. And now proposed new developments and a huge county bus depot threaten what is left.
Voice your support of Ten Mile Creek Watershed in one e-mail copied to these decision makers:
Urge them to protect Ten Mile Creek in two ways:
- Move the proposed bus depot out of Ten Mile Creek watershed and to an "already-paved" location.
- Deny new water and sewer lines and downsize the developments in Clarksburg Stage IV.
You can also add one or two of the following points:
- Before Clarksburg was developed, promises were made to protect the watershed. Now we've seen the intense development which has ravaged the local streams. We need to act now to protect what's left.
- Support the Planning Board staff recommendations to look for alternative bus depot site AND undertake a Master Plan amendment to analyze impacts of current development and allow stakeholders to take a fresh look and revision of the 1994 plan.
- Ten Mile Creek, in the Clarksburg area, is part of Little Seneca Creek and is a designated drinking water supply and trout stream. Ten Mile Creek flows steadily, clear and cold, and teems with fish, many different kinds of aquatic insects, salamanders and other life forms. This high-quality stream has been monitored for the past 12 years by volunteer Water Quality Monitors, trained and certified by the Audubon Naturalist Society, and even longer by scientists with Montgomery County's DEP.
- The County Council in 1994 promised to protect Ten Mile Creek through naming it and its watershed a "Special Protection Area." The County also enabled the application of strict protections via the Clarksburg Master Plan, Stage IV reviews and possible land use actions. Protecting the rural character of Ten Mile Creek's watershed is key to protecting Ten Mile Creek itself.
- Threatening Ten Mile Creek are four proposed development projects: a Ride-On bus and heavy equipment depot with 22 impervious acres, and proposed subdivisions on land owned by three companies currently zoned for more than 1,600 total units (including 900 units on a parcel owned by Pulte). These projects threaten the quality of Ten Mile Creek because they would involve a heavy loss of vegetation and an increase of pavement. Downscaling these projects is necessary to protecting Ten Mile Creek.
- Montgomery County should move the bus depot to another, already-urbanized area using expanded search criteria. The County needs to do a site search with Smart Growth criteria that give priority to already-paved "greyfields," and that avoids the paving of existing "greenfields" (areas that are now meadow, farm and/or woodland open spaces).
- The County asserts that engineered stormwater devices will protect the stream from stormwater pollution from these developments, but while these devices can lessen the impact of polluted stormwater runoff, they cannot prevent damage to the Creek's high quality. Such devices are effective only in tandem with planning protections for high quality, sensitive creeks.
- No new water and sewer lines should be provided to proposed residential developments in high quality watersheds—such infrastructure is a driver of sprawl. Montgomery County needs to require impervious surface limitations of 5% or less and minimum forest and field preservation of 65% or above.
- County experience in protecting Upper Paint Branch, Sandy Spring in Upper Northwest Branch, and Upper Rock Creek indicates the success of land use and zoning-based watershed protections. Scientific data reviews also support this approach.
Please send your e-mail asap! A Planning Board Hearing will take place Thursday, July 9 at 1 p.m., and a decision will be made by the County Council in the fall.
Let Dolores Milmoe know if you or your group can testify at the Planning Board Hearing.
Thank you for helping to protect our area waterways!
Audubon Naturalist Society
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