Save Mattawoman Creek


Campaign Goal: To protect the Mattawoman Creek and watershed from destructive development plans. 

Leaders: The Campaign to Save Mattawoman Creek is coordinated by the Conservation Chair of the Maryland Chapter, Claudia Friedetzky, and the Southern Maryland Group.

Actions: November 13, 2013, thank Governor O'Malley for denying permits for the Cross County Connector

  • watch this video to learn more about why we need to reject the Charles County Planning Commission's failed Comprehensive Plan, and read our 2012 petition.

Campaign to Save Mattawoman Creek: Background

Only 20 miles south of Washington DC, Mattawoman Creek is the last best remnant of what the Chesapeake Bay rivers were like when the bay was healthy and productive. This river teems with a wonderful diversity of plants and animals including eagles, herons, beavers, otters, bass and migratory fish, and American lotus. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has recognized it as the highest quality fish-spawning nursery of the Chesapeake Bay. The Mattawoman has survived thus far because forests in southern Prince George's and Charles Counties filter storm and rainwater, keeping the river cool, clean, and alive. Unfortunately, it was listed as the fourth most endangered river on the American Rivers' Most Endangered Waterways list in 2009.

Now, new proposed developments would spread a path of destruction across the creek and its watershed. Sprawling suburban housing developments threaten to pave over forests and farmlands with rooftops, cement, and polluted runoff, degrading this biodiverse area and the wildlife it supports. Other proposals to increase growth in the environmentally sensitive Mattawoman Watershed (such as the Waldorf Bypass Options) should be redesigned and directed to areas that need redevelopment.

Click here for more ideas about how to preserve the Mattawoman Creek Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. 


Waldorf Bypass Options

The State Highway Administration is advancing three types of proposals purported to address Waldorf traffic (

  • several options to upgrade Rt. 301 through Waldorf to ease traffic congestion
  • an eastern bypass that would harm Zekiah watershed
  • a western bypass that would be devastating to the Mattawoman watershed and would impact the Port Tobacco watershed

In 2001, two government-appointed Citizen Advisory Committees from Prince George’s and Charles Counties recommended a Rt. 301 upgrade option, not a new bypass highway. Yet SHA is now resurrecting the bypass options. Charles County government has so far thwarted an upgrade by insisting on a western bypass.

Yet in past planning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers rejected the western bypass as too damaging to Mattawoman Creek.

In Charles County, there has been an unending effort to drive development and congestion toward the Potomac River in order to justify a new Lower Potomac River Bridge that would be part of an Outer Beltway. Presently, most people feel the poor planning and congestion in Waldorf need to be addressed; the softer, far less harmful, path is the 301 Upgrade Plan through Waldorf. This plan has far more tolerable impacts than the Waldorf Bypass.  Unlike the Waldorf Bypass, the 301 Upgrade would not destroy Mattawoman Creek.

Option 3 upgrades US 301 to a through highway, with parallel access roads to service Waldorf’s businesses. It was endorsed by the Charles County’s Citizens Advisory Committee. By implementing the sub-option where US 301 overpasses crossroads within Waldorf, minimal right-of-way is used and impacts to businesses are minimized.

Your comments are required to prevent the mistake of a new highway that is in fact intended to be part of the Outer Beltway and would spawn intense additional growth and congestion. The western bypass would drive through the heart of the Mattawoman watershed and would impact the Port Tobacco watershed. The eastern bypass would impact the Zekiah watershed. Please comment as described above to request an upgrade to Rt. 301, NOT a new highway. For more information, contact


 Threats to the Mattawoman Creek 

Global Warming: coastal wetlands are threatened by global warming -- but can also buffer against storms and other effects. We can do our part personally and regionally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve these wetlands.

Ecosystem Restoration Tips

1. Reduce erosion, sedimentation, and pollution in the watershed. Leave forests and trees standing.

2. Remove invasive species. (Join Southern Maryland Group stewardship outings in the Mattawoman Watershed!)

3. Plant native plants and restore barren areas; see the Maryland Native Plant Society for more advice. 

4. Check out the Land Preservation Toolkit for more strategies to preserve open space.

Water Pollution Prevention

1. Don’t dump! We live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so all the water that drains through our area eventually reaches the Bay -- after passing through our local watersheds. Materials dumped into open sewer drains will flow directly into our important and irreplaceable waterways.

2. Prevent, identify, and quickly clean up spills of sewage, chemicals, and toxic substances. Report spills to the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) at 866-633-4686.

Stop Sprawl Development

Development in the outer suburbs increases traffic and carbon dioxide emissions and paves over our remaining wild places. New roads and sprawl also reduce our quality of life by degrading public facilities and services such as schools and fire and police response. 


Learn about trips around the Mattawoman watershed, and check out pictures from Mattawoman trips.