Charles County Commissioners Say "Yes" to Critical Zoning Protections for Mattawoman Creek

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Erik Fisher, Maryland Land Use Planner for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement following votes by Commissioners Murphy, Robinson, and Stewart to adopt Watershed Conservation District (WCD) zoning that will prevent excessive development and help protect clean water in Mattawoman Creek.

Adopted as ZTA 16-142 and ZMA 16-54, the Watershed Conservation District covers tens of thousands of acres of forest, farmland, and stream banks that filter out harmful pollution before it can reach county waterways. The new zoning district provides for natural resource activities such as farming, forestry, and eco-tourism in addition to low density residential and institutional development, consistent with recommendations in the County's Comprehensive Plan.

"CBF applauds Commissioners Ken Robinson, Amanda Stewart, and Peter Murphy for their votes to approve the Water Conservation District (WCD) in Charles County. Mattawoman Creek is one of the most productive tributaries in the Chesapeake Bay and a major economic driver for Charles County. The river is home to more than 50 species of fish as well as a variety of wildlife including wood ducks and bald eagles."

"The science has been clear for decades: act to limit the impacts of future growth, or watch the creek deteriorate and its benefits disappear. This vote recognizes the interests and hard work of thousands of County citizens who have worked tirelessly for the past five years to help the County plan for its future. The WCD is based on time-tested growth management practices and will protect the forests and clean water that County residents expect and deserve."

"The WCD was drafted to provide flexibility for development activity that would be suitable in such an environmentally sensitive area. This new zoning will help put land development and conservation of the County's irreplaceable natural resources back in balance."

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