Conservation Montgomery 

October 22, 2012

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Winning team
We wish to acknowledge the outstanding work of our partners with Montgomery Countryside Alliance and Audubon Naturalist Society who led a Herculean task of getting a Master Plan amendment to protect Ten Mile Creek. Many months of planning, strategic sessions and meetings with members of the development community, Councilmembers and Planning Department staff went into this effort.  In the words of UpCounty resident and conservation titan Mike Rubin: "I am in awe of the capabilities of many, but particularly Dolores Milmoe, Caroline Taylor and Kristina Bostick." Left to right above: Danny Rosenberg, Avantika Manglik, Diane Cameron of ANS and a CM Board Director, Dolores Milmoe, Caroline Taylor and Kristina Bostick.  Thanks also to all who recently signed the petition and contacted the Council about this important issue.  You helped make a difference.  Read the summary story below.
A Reprieve for the County's Cleanest Stream

Council Gives a Green Light to Ten Mile Creek  

Master Plan Amendment 


By Elizabeth Zinar

Writer for Conservation Montgomery

10 mile Black Hills Regional Park
Crystal clear section of Ten Mile Creek in the Black Hills Regional Park 

The forested and intricate waterways of Clarksburg in Northern Montgomery County have been yielding to a changing landscape over the last 20 years.  On October 9, the County Council unanimously decided to apply lessons learned by directing the Planning Department to prepare an amendment to Clarksburg's 1994 Master Plan.  The new amendment will require systematic protection and oversight for the Ten Mile Creek Watershed during the final stage of the community's growth.


Since the 1990s, the traditionally rural community situated at the northern end of I-270 has been undergoing a steady, ongoing transition into a major population center.  Clarksburg's development into an urbanized community has been wrought by controversy and debate for years, however, resulting in its currently unfinished state as a collection of isolated residential neighborhoods.  Much of the deliberation surrounding Clarksburg's development is a result of the fact that the town is being built on an area that holds one of the most valuable and also fragile waterways in the county.  


Clarksburg covers much of the drainage area of Ten Mile Creek, an environmentally sensitive tributary of Little Seneca Creek.  Ten Mile Creek flows directly into the Little Seneca Reservoir, an emergency drinking water supply for the county located in Black Hills Regional Park just south of Clarksburg.  According to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the ecology of the stream is unusually rich as a result of the watershed's location on a fracture fault line that has shaped its channels.  This is why the County designated the eastern part of the stream's watershed, which is not already protected by rural zoning, as a Special Protection Area in the Clarksburg Master Plan.  Development in this area must be carefully planned and implemented.


This Special Protection Area is also the site of much of the development proposed for creek's headwaters in the final stage of Clarksburg's four-stage Master Plan.  Southwest of I-270, Pulte Homes owns land now zoned for up to 900 more residential units on 529 acres of agricultural land.  Northeast of I-270, Petersen Company has proposed to build a massive commercial-residential complex near Clarksburg Town Center, with almost 600,000 square feet of commercial space planned.


"It's jaw-dropping what is planned to take place if you visit Clarksburg and see yourself the land that is zoned for development.  This sprawl is not supported by public services, and so much topography will be altered," said Caroline Taylor, executive director of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA).  Taylor is among the advocates from the MCA who partnered with Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) to coordinate a citizen campaign to protect Ten Mile Creek that successfully petitioned for the Amendment's approval.  The area is served by a vast underground aquifer that will be degraded if the watershed cannot support building at densities currently planned.  


                                          Read the full story.....    

Stumped in Montgomery!

County budget cuts leave almost 10,000 stumps as barriers to tree replacement

By Agnes Blum
Writer for Conservation Montgomery

Stump at the corner of Newport Avenue and Allan Road in Bethesda                 Photo: Agnes Blum 

Peer down any stretch of road in Montgomery County -- whether it's the suburbs of Bethesda, the busy streets of downtown Silver Spring or bucolic country roads in the upper county -- and you're bound to find a tree stump.


And that is a problem, according to some Montgomery County environmentalists. Remaining stumps are not just eye-sores and reminders of a dwindling tree canopy; they are also impediments to planting new trees. Old stumps die hard, and without grinding them down, they will remain for years, taking up valuable real estate on often quite narrow stretches of land.
Almost 10,000 tree stumps dot the roadsides of Montgomery County, according to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. In newer subdivisions, or on wide country roads, planting a tree next to an existing stump may be less problematic because there is enough room. But in older, denser parts of the county, competition for good land is fierce. Between sidewalks, roads and street signs, a remaining stump means a new tree won't get planted.


"You can't underestimate the problem," said Brett Linkletter, the county's Chief of Street Tree Maintenance. "The backlog is so big, we can't replant until the stumps are gone."

                                                        Read the full story....  

Working together to enhance our quality of life.    


Conservation Montgomery is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit.  Donations and memberships are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of federal law.  Conservation Montgomery is also listed as on the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area list of accepted charities. Our number is 72945