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Friday, October 12, 2012

Protecting our environment as we grow

On Tuesday, I played a key role in ensuring that Montgomery County strives for a proper balance between environmental protections and community development.   

The issue is whether development in the Ten Mile Creek watershed can move forward without a proper water quality assessment. Ten Mile Creek is home to many species of fish, aquatic insects, rarely found amphibians, ephemeral streams, springs and seeps. Most importantly, it is the backup drinking water supply for 3 million people in the region.  I have visited this stream with environmental advocates and seen the rich life that it supports.

Councilmember Hans Riemer analyzes water quality samples at a 2011 tour of the Ten Mile Creek watershed. 
The council was facing requests to move forward on a mall in the headwaters of this creek as well as perhaps 1,000 homes in the watershed, without first conducting an appropriate assessment of how development should be designed to protect the creek.

My council colleagues and I were aware these development requests raised considerable concerns within the Clarksburg Community. Together, we agreed that before development proceeds, the Planning Board should evaluate water quality issues and potential development in order to reach a smart, research-based decision for Clarksburg and our region.