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Your Two Cents
Re: In Allegany County, Smart Growth Makes Sense
I just finished reading the article on Terrapin Run in Allegeny County. I have yet to make up my mind on this proposed development due to not having all the facts, and after reading the article I have less facts. I tend to make decisions based on what I know as the truth. Your article states the following: "the closest high school and middle school would be more than 30 miles to the east in Cumberland, the nearest elementary school 15 miles away in the small community of Flintstone. The developer expects that the working residents of Terrapin Run, some 10,000 to 11,000 of them, would drive the I-68, I-70 and I-270 corridors to Frederick, Baltimore and Washington, DC, a commute of 150-200 miles, while students would make a 60-mile round trip each day in the opposite direction.". The "facts" are, downtown Cumberland is 25 miles away, the school in Flintstone is less than 10 miles away, Washington and Baltimore are 116 and 117 miles away. Seems like maybe you work part time for the Bush administration.
Dale Sams’s Response:
Mr. Jay Walbert, Supervisor of Transportation for the Allegany County Board of Education, stated at a Terrapin Run pre-development conference held in February 2005 in Cumberland, Maryland, that "Flintstone School, which would serve elementary school needs is 15 miles from the site." He also stated that "The nearest county middle and high schools are 30 miles away in Cumberland."
The round trip driving distance from the Terrapin Run site in eastern Allegany County to Frederick is approximately 140 miles; round trip driving distances to Baltimore and Washington DC, based on Mr. Finney's distances, are 234 and 232 miles respectively. My reference to "a commute of 150-200 miles" was intended to highlight the great distances workers would be required to travel daily from their homes in Terrapin Run to jobs in Frederick, Baltimore, and Washington DC and back home to Terrapin Run. I apologize if this misled any of your readers.
Re: Removing Invasive Plants Restores Habitat in Maryland http://maryland.sierraclub.org/newsletter/archives/2006/03/a_013.asp
Why squander our limited resources?
Witnessing the expanding scourge of kudzu that is smothering, killing, and ultimately dragging down legions of trees in our woods and along our parkways can easily spur us into action destroying invasives.
But while we may glean satisfaction from trying to clear up this scourge, aren't we deluding ourselves? Because overlooking just a single cutting, seed, or resprouting root can be sufficient to re-ignite this plague, are we not expending valuable resources to merely achieve a temporal “fix”? Being able to rely on an army of motivated volunteers to remove invasives on a continuing basis, forever into the future, can neither be guaranteed nor sustained.
Invasives, like cockroaches, are resilient and will eventually re-emerge the victor. So why not, at this point, focus our attention and resources on addressing those environmental problems that there is at least some hope of resolving?
As for invasives themselves, we should maybe encourage research into self-perpetuating biological controls to avoid the need for never-ending interventions by volunteers.
Marc Imlay’s Response
To the Editor:
Kudzu is not found in the 47 sites announced in the Chesapeake for volunteers to remove invasive plants with a couple of exceptions. Kudzu has been eradicated in natural areas undergoing restoration where it is found. "Overlooking just a single cutting, seed, or resprouting root" does not "re-ignite this plague" because the resources spent monitoring and removing new infestations is about 1% of the resources spent on the initial infestation. The "army of motivated volunteers to remove invasives on a continuing basis," is not "forever into the future," but rather 3-5 years at a specific site and therefore can be guaranteed and sustained. After 3-5 years only a couple of individuals are needed for a few days each year (albeit forever into the future) at a typical site of 100 -1,000 acres.
The problem Allen is referring to is that of removing Kudzu over areas we are not targeting because almost no native plants are left as a result of massive infestations by Kudzu, Japanese Stiltgrass, English Ivy, Mile-a Minute-Weed, Porcelain Berry etc. For these sites biocontrol research is our best hope. Some non-native invasive plants have species of fungi and insects in Eurasia that are host specific. The research takes about 5 years to prove that they are also host specific in America. This approach has worked for purple loosestrife and evidently garlic mustard. If found safe under quarantine conditions in Minnesota 5 species of weevils appear safe to be released in 2007 for garlic mustard.
Marc Imlay, PhD
Conservation biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society
Board member of the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council,
Hui o Laka at Kokee State Park, Hawaii,
Vice president of the Maryland Native Plant Society
Chair of the Biodiversity and Habitat Stewardship Committee
for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.
> 2006 Table of Contents