June 17, 2008
- The SRA Board attended public information meeting by the Maryland Department of Environment on three tidal wetland license applications under review for permits to construct three piers into Sullivan’s Cove. The Severn River Association president, Kurt Riegel, provided testimony on why the piers should not be constructed. A summary of the public information meeting is provided below.
- Executive Committee: The Board of Directors voted on the Executive Committee members.
- Bob Whitcomb
- Thistle Cone
- Betsy Love
- Sally Hornor
- Pat Lynch
- Richard Falk
- Kurt Riegel, ex officio
- Report on Annual Meeting: Discussion of how the press portrayed honoring losers. Most felt this was not taken as a poor reflection on the SRA. It portrayed our concern that even when we are working so hard to protect the resources of the Severn River, be still are loosing the battle, and honored three councilmen who courageously risked disapproval by championing sound approaches. Because we, and they, continue to push for effective approaches, there is no shame in not, just yet, succeeding.
Word is that Kathy Vitale would have liked to be recognized for her efforts to provide a tax credit for qualified measures. Kurt will post the legislation, together with available guidelines for its administration, on the SRA website. We will consider a a public meeting devoted to this subject, with expert speakers from county government and elsewhere.
- Upcoming Severn River Raft-up is scheduled of June 21 on Plum Creek. Be there or be square.
- Bob Whitcomb reported on the Bay Friendly Neighborhoods that was being organized by Bill Tilghman. The May event was cancelled and discussion on how to make this idea work. People involved in this effort may be over-extended and we must work with Bill to get this fully on track..
- SRA nomination process: It was reported that, during this year's process, there was uncertainty in one case about whether all board members were being reelected. All acknowledged that we should pay closer attention to this in the future, and communicate clearly with prospective nominees well in advance of election. We appreciate the efforts of SRA board members and need to give continuing attention to identifying and recruiting quality board members. It was noted that the constitution does not presently include a practical procedure for filling board vacancies between annual meetings, and we will entertain proposals for addressing this fact.
- Severn River Pumpout Project: Kurt has started a dialog with Annapolis Harbor Master Ulrich Dahlgren and the West Rhode Riverkeeper (Bob Gallagher) about making pumpouts on the Severn River stations more effective. Compliance is known to be poor. Three reasons why boaters are not using the pumpout stations: (1) The equipment is malfunctioning at the marinas, (2) pumpouts are often inconvenient and (3) a $5 fee is levied by the Harbor Master's pumpout boat and most shore facilities
According to the Annapolis Harbor Master the $5 fee is a tiny fraction of the program cost. It is felt to be a barrier for some boaters. Currently, the Annapolis Harbor master can be radioed or phoned by anchored/moored boaters, and will dispatch a pump out boat. Annapolis has a new pumpout boat, is supported by a number of funding sources, and and donated its the old pumpout boat to West Rhode Riverkeeper. Shore facilities with more than 10 boats slips must have a pumpout station. Certified clean marinas must accept boats from the public; private community marinas that have not accepted government subsidies are under no oblgation to service the public.
- Harbor master eliminate the $5 fee
- Cajole marinas with nonfunctioning equipment to repair it
- Report marinas that are in noncompliance with legal pumpout requirements
- Publicize where pumpout stations are located.
- Bob Whitcomb, Sally Hornor and Charlotte Luppert will examine the DNR list of station and call to see which are working.
- We will consider inviting the Annapolis harbor master to speak at an SRA meeting.
Projects / Budget / Grant & Fundraising: The treasurer was not present to give a treasurers report. Audit of books is overdue and will commence with Bob vom Saals return, Pat Lynch and Bob Whitcomb cmprising the Audit Committee..
Kurt is working with Anne Arundel government to secure an updated mailing list from the county on all Severn River waterfront and water view owners, addressing some privacy hurdles. This mailing is part of a grant that has already been awarded.
Kurt mentioned workload not fully covered by volunteers and may propose means, such as employment of a graduate student, to shoulder routine workload.
SUMMARY OF JUNE 17 MDE MEETING at Severn School
MDE organized a public information meeting – but is not required, for 3 pier permits on Sullivan Cove. Review of permits evaluated tidal wetland, mean low tide, open water & vegetated wetland, non-tidal wetlands.
Impacts to Non-Tidal wetlands will be done by Judy Cole
- Atlantic white cedar
Impacts to tidal will be done by Bob?
- Project degradation to WQ standards
MDE will monitor before, during and after project. Identify resources; make sure project goes as permitted.
- Paul McCoy: Paul stated that he is intimately familiar with area because he lived on the other side of the cove for 36 years and right next to the site for 1.5 years. There is not way to proceed with this project without destroying wetlands.
- Mr. Higgs: Mr. Higgs lived on Sullivan cove since 1982. He took the February 2008 aerial photos. He id concerned about the domino effect this appeal has been going on for years and yet 2 addition permits are being applied. Is this a marina? MDE has the discretionary power to protect and preserve this resource. This is the everglades of Severna Park. Death by a thousand piers. Has a report by Bill Sipple (wetland botanist) that says they project will destroy the habitat to many endangered and rare plants. The Chesapeake Bay and Severn River are under attack and continue to have dead zones.
- Lydia?: There will be 100’s of pilings installed. Here question to MDE is how can it not impact? What is the timeframe for comment period? MDE is accepting comments written to June 30, 2008.
- Scott Hymes:
- Unknown speaker: the area may not be pristine, but it is an oasis. Rows everyday and knows this area. We need to respect, revere this area and it rumps property right.
- Fred Kelly: Since the property rights are to obtain access to navitatable waters, the piers should only go to the pond.
- Kurt Reigel:
- Andrew Mesga: Has a business that raises oysters. Asked MDE what the benefit to putting in the piers? The public use of MD waters is more important than the property rights land owner. Keep nature working for all of us. Stated that oysters are needed to improve the Severn River.
- Elaine Hoffman: Take care of the wetlands for future generations.
- Tim Forsight: Mersa employee. Has looked at the plant life that exists in the area. Concerned that the blockage of sunlight to water that provides oxygenation and CO2 absorptions.
- Mike Slattery: Proposal has long lasting effects. Does not believe that the mats proposed for construction will be successful in limiting initial impacts to the wetland. Even if the short term effects are minimized, need to consider the long term effects. In the long term habitat will change, plants will move in, plants will leave. We need to be smart responsible stewards of the environment. Found a spotted turtle in the bonds and this is a turtle of concern.
Submitted by Stevie Wilding, Corresponding Secretary