HEAD ON WITH NATURE
From: Robert Gardner
On Saturday, Dec. 14, I was walking my dog, Sasha, along Deep Run Creek. This is a wetland area behind the village of Montgomery Run in Ellicott City where there has been much debate over the location ofthe proposed Route 100.
To my surprise, surveyors had been through the area, placing markers and leaving a straight path from Montgomery Run to the University of Maryland Horse farm. For those familiar with Route 100, the trail appears to be the center line for the original alignment agreed in 1987.
When we found the path, we followed it east, through Deep Run Creek. When we came out of the woods and back on to higher ground, the terrain was full of briars that the surveypath had cut through.
I took the path and Sasha cut through the briars, but on the other side came a 10-point buck. Sasha, still beinga puppy, wanted to play with the deer. When the buck saw me, over the hill he went with Sasha right behind him.
When I got to the crest of the hill, the animals were in the creek. The buck kept charging at my dog, keeping her out of the creek, wanting nothing to do with her. I kept yelling at Sasha and, of course, she didn't listen.
Sasha was giving the deer so much interference I was able to walk within20 feet of the creek. I could see a wound on the left side of his chest. The buck saw me and charged upstream behind more briars, only tohave a playmate tag along.
I continued to yell, moving to the edge of the creek. The buck turned and ignited downstream only to see meeye to eye. He hesitated, then continued, since Sasha was coming.
I finally grabbed Sasha, shook her out of her trance and attached her leash.
The buck was gone, jumping briars, fences and the creek knowing his little pest was captured. Sasha, knowing I was angry at her, behaved every step of the way home. But how can I be upset at a pup who is exploring nature? There is such little left.
If Route 100is built where the survey markers are placed, the buck will be gone along with Deep Run Creek, the woods, the briars and the other animals that live here.
CALL TO RESISTANCE
From: L. Scott Muller
Recently, this paper published a letter by Don Gill warning residents of western Howard County of plans to nearly double the size of the Alpha Ridge landfill and to continue operating the landfill until 2020.
Since that letter, newspaper articles have chronicled the fight that residents of Allegany and Frederick counties have mounted against the operation of their landfills and the fight residents of Montgomery County are waging against a trash incinerator in a predominantly rural area of that county. Why are the residents of Howard County complacent in allowing the county to expand the Alpha RidgeLandfill without considering other trash disposal alternatives?
The expansion of Alpha Ridge landfill affects all county residents, not only those in the area of the landfill.
Before the county selected Alpha Ridge as the site for the new landfill in 1978, a state official examining the potential sites for a landfill wrote that Alpha Ridge was the worst site of the possible landfill locations due to topography, proximity to streams and rivers, and the potential for groundwater pollution.
Expansion of this ill-conceived landfill makes the present situation worse, further threatening not only the ground water that provides drinking water to the 300 homes within a mile of the landfill (a vast increase in the number of homes since the landfill was established), but also the surface water that supplies the Little Patuxent River.
The state permits runoff and partially treated leachate from the dump to run into the Little Patuxent, through the county (including neighborhoods like Turf Valley, Font Hill, Centennial, Dorsey Hall and Running Brook), into Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. Expanding the landfill willalso deny county residents access to a long-planned park at Alpha Ridge, and scar the "greenbelt" established in the county's 1990 General Plan.
Frederick and Allegany counties are fighting landfills, despite the fact that the impact of landfills are much less severe in those counties than in Howard County. Both counties have much larger land areas, and few households with well water that would be threatened by the landfill.
Why are Frederick and Allegany residents more protective than those in Howard County when it comes to protecting theenvironment?
Perhaps because the vast majority of Howard County residents rely on public water and do not consider the threat to otherresidents' drinking water. Perhaps because the residents do not realize that runoff from the landfill makes fishing, boating or swimming in area streams, lakes (especially Kittamaqundi) or the bay hazardousto their health.