Rock Creek Wrong Needs To Be Righted

Readers write

Its People.

February 20, 1991

FROM: DARLENE SCHEPLENG

PASADENA

AS A PART OF OUR NORTH COUNTY CREEK COMMISSION ACTIVITIES, LINDA DOOLEY AND

I BACK IN 1985 WERE INSPECTING THE CONSTRUCTION OF RAYNOR BOULEVARD. WE

DISCOVERED AN AREA OF OUR WOODS THAT WAS COMPLETELY COVERED WITH SAND. WE

SOUGHT TO FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM.

WE DISCOVERED A STREAM, IN EXCESS OF 1,000 FEET IN LENGTH, WHICH WAS TOTALLY

BURIED UNDER THOUSANDS OF TONS OF SAND. THE CAUSE WAS A BLOW-OUT OF AN ENTIRE

HILLSIDE FROM A STORM DRAIN ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE. AN AVALANCHE OF SAND

DESTROYED THE STREAM AND IN PLACES ONLY TREE TOPS WERE SHOWING.

WE NOTIFIED THE COUNTY INSPECTOR. SOON WORKERS WITH SHOVELS ANDWHEELBARROWS

WERE REMOVING A PORTION OF THE SAND. FOR SIX YEARS WE HAVE CONTENDED THE JOB

MUST BE FINISHED, MANUALLY REMOVING THE DEPOSITS, AT THE DEVELOPER'S EXPENSE.

ALONG CAME THE ROCK CREEK RETROFITS STUDY BY DAMES AND MOORE IN 1989. THEY

PROPOSED PLACING A SERIES OF CHECK DAMS ACROSS THIS FEEDER STREAM TO HALT THE

MOVEMENT OF THE SESEDIMENT DEPOSITS.

WE HAD SEVERAL MEETINGS AT THE LIBRARY, PUBLIC WORKS AND IN THE FIELD WITH

REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE COUNTY, STATE, AND DAMES AND MOORE.

WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ADAMANTLY OPPOSED TO THESE DAMS. FIRST,BECAUSE OUR FRESHWATER FLOW WOULD BE FURTHER DECREASED. THE ORIGINAL ROCK CREEK STUDY, ALSO

BY DAMES AND MOORE, SAID AMAJOR CAUSE OF ROCK CREEK'S DECLINE WAS A LACK OF FRESH WATER.HOW STRANGE THAT THE SAME ENGINEERS WOULD PROPOSE IN ANOTHER STUDY,

A MEANS TO FURTHER DECREASE THAT FLOW, THROUGH THESE CHECK DAMS.

SECONDLY, WE WANTED THE DEPOSITS REMOVED BY HAND. LASTLY, WE WANTED THE WORK

TO BE ACCOMPLISHED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE DEVELOPER, NOT THE TAXPAYERS.

OUR MEETINGS WERE FOLLOWED BY SEVERAL LETTERS TO ALL INVOLVED,OUTLINING OUR

POSITION.

WE WERE TOLD BY THE COUNTY, STATE AND DAMES AND MOORE THAT WORK WOULD NOT PROCEED IF WE DIDN'T WANT IT TO. THE ONLY WORK WE AGREED TO IN OUR STREAM AREA WAS AT RAYNOR BOULEVARD WHERE SEDIMENT DEPOSITS WERE TO BE REMOVED FOLLOWED BY

A PLANTING OF WETLAND VEGETATION. THE OTHER AREA TO BE VEGETATED WITH

WETLAND PLANTS WAS IN A STREAM NEAR HOG NECK ROAD.

IN OCTOBER, ONE OF OUR MEMBERS APPROACHED THE STATE AS TO THE STATUS OF THE

RETROFIT PROJECT. SHE WAS INFORMED THAT THE STATE DROPPED OUT OF THE PROJECT DUE TO STRONG CITIZEN OPPOSITION. IN NOVEMBER THE COUNTY TOLD US THE ISSUE WAS

DEAD.

IN JANUARY WE COULD SEE BUILDERS IN THIS AREA. I ASKED FOR A TOUR OF THE WORK BEING DONE. I WAS PUT OFF MANY WEEKS. WHEN WE FINALLY TOURED THE SITE, THE

DAM WAS COMPLETED, WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE OR APPROVAL.

WE HAVE NOW BEEN INFORMED THAT TWO MORE DAMS WILL BE BUILT. ALSO OUR STREAM

WILL BE TURNED INTO A POND. THE PRESENT DAM MEASURES 153 FEET LONG BY 6 FEET

ACROSS.

WE ARE NOW DEMANDING:

1) A MEETING WITH COUNTY EXECUTIVE NEALL;

2) AN ACCOUNTABILITY AS TO WHY THE PROJECT PROCEEDED AND BY WHOSE AUTHORITY

OVER OUR STRONG OBJECTIONS;

3) WHY TAXPAYER MONEY IN THE FORM OF A $40,000 EPA GRANT WAS USED TO CLEAR

UP A PROBLEM CAUSED BY A DEVELOPER;

4) REMOVAL OF THE WALL;

5) A HALT TO FUTURE WORK, CONSTRUCTION OF MORE WALLS AND THE PONDING OF OUR

STREAM;

6) AN INVESTIGATION INTO THIS MATTER.

IN THE 13 YEARS THAT ROCK CREEK HAS SUFFERED ABUSE BY SEWAGE SPILLS, STORM WATER RUNOFF, AND SEDIMENT POLLUTION, THIS IS BY FAR THE BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER. IT WAS DONE DELIBERATELY ANDWILLFULLY OVER THE STRONG OBJECTIONS OF

THE PEOPLE.

MANY QUESTIONS NEED TO BE ANSWERED. I IMPLORE ALL OUR RESIDENTS AND ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES TO JOIN US IN RIGHTING THIS WRONG PERPETRATED ON ROCK CREEK AND

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ABOUT SCHOOL POLICIES

From: Debra Denford

Glen Burnie

Editor's note: The letter is addressed to Sen. Michael J. Wagner,D-32, and County Executive Robert R. Neall.

I am so confused and I don't understand how the county and the state governments work. I hope you can help me. I just came from a PTA meeting at George Cromwell Elementary School. I've been on the executive board there for four years.

I understand (former County Executive O. James) Lighthizer spent $86,000 on an "autobiography" of himself -- how did that get approved? Is there any action we can take to recover some of that money? Is it true Gov. (William Donald) Schaefer created a job for this man?

I don't understand why there is no money for snow and ice removal on our elementary school parking lot. My children almost broke their necks on the ice. I don't understand why we've had four real bad roof leaks for over a year in classrooms and hallways.

There is no money for a bus to take the sixth-graders (whoever is attending Brooklyn) to tour the school -- the board has always paid this -- yet I see two-color, two-sided book marks and bus rule cards which are to be inserted with report cards. I work for a printer -- that's expensive.What a waste.

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