Last night, the Richmond County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the potential rezoning of Fones Cliffs*, allowing for the construction of a massive development. With the hearing room packed, local residents, ecologists, and economists delivered hours of testimony.
Highlights included an economic expert exposing the developer's revenue projections as significantly overstated, an eagle expert calling Fones Cliffs a "touchstone" for bald eagles in their migratory patterns, and a land use planner citing how rezoning Fones Cliffs is not consistent with Richmond County's comprehensive plan for open space and rural land. Fones Cliffs was also branded as "a truly historic cultural gem," and "a regional treasure."
Taking all this into consideration, the Board of Supervisors wisely decided to postpone a decision on Diatomite Corporation's request to rezone nearly 1,000 acres on Fones Cliffs for development. Many unanswered questions remain concerning how the developer would ensure protection of the unparalleled environment and natural resources at Fones Cliffs. We look forward to working with the supervisors as they continue their careful review of this important matter.
This Week in the Watershed: Poop Energy, Fones Cliffs, and Prehistoric Fish
- D.C. Water is taking wastewater treatment to the next level, converting sludge leftover from treated sewage into electricity. (Washington Post--D.C.)
- Oyster season is off to a good start, but there is contention over the harvest reserve areas throughout the Bay. (Star Democrat--MD)
- The construction of the largest man-made oyster reef in the world at Harris Creek is unprecedented. (Bay Journal)
- We couldn't agree more with this op-ed opposing the development of Fones Cliffs. (Free Lance Star--VA)
- Two endangered Atlantic Sturgeons were found washed up on a beach near North End, Virginia. The prehistoric fish are a rare sight. (Virginian Pilot--VA)
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Annapolis, MD: Want to help restore the Bay's oyster population? Become an oyster gardener! New oyster gardeners are required to attend an Oyster Gardening Workshop before beginning their first year of gardening, such as one in Annapolis October 9. Returning gardeners can register to pick up spat. Click here to learn more!
- Easton, MD: Want to help restore the Bay's oyster population? Become an oyster gardener! New oyster gardeners are required to attend an Oyster Gardening Workshop before beginning their first year of gardening, such as one in Easton October 10. Returning gardeners can register to pick up spat. Click here to learn more!
- St. Michaels, MD: Join us for a sail on CBF's historic skipjack, the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the Bay's oyster population. Click here to register!
- Baltimore, MD: CBF's oyster gardening program is expanding to Baltimore Harbor! We're looking for 50 new gardeners to care for two cages of oysters each over the winter and then "plant" them on a reef in the spring. This unusual hobby is fun, educational, and helps to clean the harbor waters. Register here!
- Annapolis, MD: The Annapolis VoiCeS Course, a six-week adult education class on Mondays, starts October 12! The course will cover regional environmental issues affecting Maryland and the Bay watershed. The program provides information on subjects affecting the health of our community's natural environment and how you can take action. In-depth sessions are taught by Bay experts from CBF and other regional institutions and organizations. Click here to register!
- Easton, MD: The Eastern Shore of Maryland VoiCeS Course, a six-week adult education class on Tuesdays, starts October 13! The course will cover regional environmental issues affecting Maryland and the Bay watershed. The program provides information on subjects affecting the health of our community's natural environment and how you can take action. In-depth sessions are taught by Bay experts from CBF and other regional institutions and organizations. Click here to register!
- Annapolis, MD: Current CBF oyster gardeners can pick up baby spat for the upcoming season. Register here!
- Baltimore, MD: Get your hands dirty planting trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses in a vacant lot in West Baltimore that CBF and a coalition of groups are restoring. Click here to register!
- Edgewater, MD: Another opportunity for current CBF oyster gardeners can pick up baby spat for the upcoming season. Register here!
- Keymar, MD: Help CBF plant over 800 trees and shrubs on a dairy farm in Frederick County. This stream buffer will help provide clean water in the Monocacy River Watershed. Register here!
- Upper Marlboro, MD: Come on out to CBF's Clagett Farm for a fun-filled afternoon with friends, live music, craft-brewed beers, and mouth-watering food created by area chefs using local ingredients at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Burgers and Brews for the Bay event. Learn more and buy tickets here!
- York, PA: A good time is to be had by all at BrewVino. Residents can meet neighbors looking to protect local waterways and learn about new opportunities to get involved in ensuring clean water, healthy communities, and a thriving economy for York County. Oh, and there will be good food! Click here to register!
- Washington, DC: Join USGBC-NCR for "Building for Climate Resilience: Adaptions and Strategies." Part of USGBC-NCR's lead-up to Greenbuild Voices on Resilience Campaign, this event will feature a panel of expert practitioners discussing real-world examples of projects designed and engineered to withstand our changing environment. Click here to learn more!
--Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate
*The part of Fones Cliffs that is owned by the Diatomite Corporation of America.