Open Pasadena's Wharf Creek ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

October 08, 1992

For the past six years, the people who live along Wharf Creek in Pasadena have done everything they were supposed to do to get the clogged creek restored and a boating channel reopened.

Now that the dredging is one step away, they could lose the whole project because some of their neighbors don't want the mud dumped in a field behind the local high school.

Anne Arundel County has postponed the dredging indefinitely. If it can find another spoil site that makes everyone happy, fine. But if it can't, it should go ahead and put the muck on an unused field behind Chesapeake High School, as originally planned. To drop the project would be grossly unfair to the residents who have invested so much time in seeing that this dredging gets done.

It's not just that. Wharf Creek needs to be cleaned out.

Twenty years of erosion have made the creek so shallow that you can't bring a boat in at low tide. When a northeast wind blows the water away from shore, residents are subjected to the stench from exposed algae, mud and debris.

Thanks to a cool summer, the creek is healthier than it has been in some time, with fish and aquatic grasses making a comeback. But a hot summer next year could turn the creek stagnant and malodorous again if it isn't dredged.

The school board could have solved Wharf Creek's problems last month by approving the spoil site.

But faced with opposition from Cedarwood Cove residents, who fear the mud will smell and pose a health hazard, the board tabled the issue. Perhaps the county, which insists the mud is harmless storm-water runoff, should provide evidence that what lies in Wharf Creek is safe.

Unless someone proves otherwise, there is no reason to drag out this project. The permits have all been granted, and the field behind the school isn't even used; it's too rutted. County officials have suggested that the dried mud might actually help the school because the field then could be leveled and eventually turned into usable land.

And remember -- much of the mud that's killing Wharf Creek eroded off of school property in the first place.

We fail to see what harm would come from putting it back.

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