SEPTEMBER 29, 2013logos  


Community Updates 

In this issue
At the crossroads...Saving Ten Mile Creek
Action is needed on pesticides
Dear Readers,
ITMC glassn this issue, find an update on the effort to save one of the last pristine creeks in Montgomery County and an important backup source of our drinking water supply for the region -- Ten Mile Creek in Clarksburg.  The buildout proposed in Stage IV of the Clarksburg Master Plan jeopardizes the quality of this stream.   
Learn about the action taken in Takoma Park to avoid the use of toxic pesticides in a new op/ed column by Barbara Hoover. 
at 6 p.m.  We'll learn about the progress on the amendment to the countywide trails plan.  Park trails are used by most of us in the county so plan to come and hear about the future of our trails in our park system.
                                                       -- Board of Directors, Conservation Montgomery
Planning Board Hearings Underscore Community Support for Saving Ten Mile Creek 

Planning Commissioners to meet again on Oct. 19 prior to send recommendations to the Council  
By Ginny Barnes
Vice Chair, Conservation Montgomery 

Hearings before the Planning Commission on the Ten Mile Creek Area  Limited Master Plan Amendment were held on September 10 and 12 with a long list of speakers, most of them expressing consistent concern over the environmental impact of proposed development on the watersheds feeding Little Seneca Reservoir, particularly Ten Mile Creek, a biologically superior reference stream considered the 'last best creek' in Montgomery County. 


At  the close of second hearing,  three work sessions were set for  Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Oct. 19.  A Planning Commission decision will conclude the last work session.  Chair Carrier directed Planning staff to review any new technical issues raised by experts at the September hearing, reach out to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to elicit input on the safety and security of the region's back up water supply in Little Seneca Reservoir and asked staff to meet with property owners and stakeholders to explore any new information that might affect the Staff Draft. Once the Planning Board decision is rendered , the Draft Report is submitted to the County Council who will make final decisions on the future of Ten Mile Creek.


Why all the fuss over Ten Mile Creek? Because the 1994 Clarksburg Master Plan vision recognized the unique nature of  Ten Mile Creek and  provided a pause after Stages I - III triggers were met to revisit the Plan before moving into the pristine Ten Mile Creek watershed with additional development projects.  It's  20 years later and we know a lot more about what harms watersheds. The County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has data from a water quality monitoring program that didn't even exist in 1994 and we've heard over and over now from developers how 'state of the art' stormwater management techniques will protect water quality while County streams still  continue to degrade over time. What we know for sure is the higher the imperviousness in a watershed. the greater the impact to stream quality. Do we want to take a chance on the last best stream? The only one which is still relatively untouched  while sister streams Little Seneca and Cabin Branch are being developed with impervious projects upwards of 24%?  When the current residents of Clarksburg do not have the community amenities promised 20 years ago? A town center with grocery, library, restaurants and gathering places? 


The Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition, consisting of 16 member  organizations both environmental and civic and includes Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Audubon Naturalist Society, Conservation Montgomery, Clean Water Action, Sugarloaf Citizens Association and the Sierra Club. At the hearing, all raised concerns about retaining the condition of the watershed, the future of our drinking water  supply and the sole source aquifer relied upon by residents on wells  in the area. 


Former Planning Chair Hanson

In a letter to Chair Carrier, former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson expressed a unique perspective  on the decision before the Commission as one 'who has walked in [their] shoes'.  He  noted that, "The Clarksburg amendment is one of those rare occasions when [the Planning Board] is called upon to make a legacy decision -- one that will characterize your reputations as trustees of the future of the county."  He cited creation of the stream valley park system and the County's nationally heralded Agricultural Reserve as two such decisions.


To express your views, write to the Planning Board Chair, Francoise Carrier at   For more information:  Click here.          



Action is Needed to Avoid Use of Toxic Pesticides
Mounting evidence leads Takoma Park decision


By Barbara Hoover

Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors 


Americans have been led to believe they need poisons to keep their yard pretty and pest-free. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we use 67 million tons of chemicals on our lawns each year, dropping over $700 million for the privilege of contaminating our surroundings and ourselves. Homeowners use 10 times the amount of pesticides per acre that farmers do. If you've been using them and haven't considered how hazardous they are, just look at the evidence.


The good news is that Takoma Park has recently taken bold steps to limit the amount of chemical poisons that can be applied. The Safe Grow Zone Act Ordinance was proposed by Takoma Park residents Catherine Cummings and Julie Taddeo several months ago as an effort to restrict the use of pesticides they say are harmful to residents' health and the environment. Many hope that the limited use of pesticides will become the standard for communities throughout Maryland, following the example of the folks in Canada who have been systematically taking pesticides and herbicides off the market for the past 20 years. For example, the government of Ontario has banned these products and publically stated that, "...the use of pesticides to control weeds and insects for purely cosmetic reasons presents an unnecessary risk to our families and pets, especially when we can 


Read Barbara's complete and informative article under "Finding Our Voice:.                                                     


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