Sorting out all the claims on wetlandsYour readers of May...

the Forum

June 02, 1993

Sorting out all the claims on wetlands

Your readers of May 22 may be excused if they have difficulty in sorting out claims and counterclaims regarding the effectiveness of the state's nontidal wetlands law.

In that edition we were favored with a letter to the editor by Dr. Torrey Brown, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; another letter from Curtis C. Bohlen, scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; an editorial on the subject; and a feature article by Tom Horton, who weekly brings us up to date on matters affecting the bay.

First, Dr. Brown tells us the law in its application is a unqualified success in creating new wetlands to replace those destroyed by developers, explaining that just over 20 acres of such wetlands have been wiped out annually, on average.

Mr. Bohlen claims also that the law is a success, but comes up with a caveat or so. He points out that mitigation efforts should begin before existing wetlands are destroyed, admitting that few replacement projects have been undertaken. This seems to be at odds with Dr. Brown's statement that a gain has occurred.

The editorial also reports a backlog of 76 acres of state-required wetlands creation and a net loss of 46 acres since the law went into effect. At the same time, most of the replacement projects have not reached the planning stage.

Mr. Horton's article, while not directly addressing the replacement issue, describes a situation, all too common, whereby a number of environmentally involved agencies differ among themselves as to what constitutes non-tidal wetlands.

For this particular property of 1,000 acres, the ultimate decision seems to favor the developer. And that has been all too common also.

The law is an excellent one and deserves the highest of praise, both in its objectives and attainments. Through the permit provisions, inland wetland acreage proposed for development has been reduced markedly.

As for replacement of such land, the suggestion put forth by several writers deserves serious consideration. This would require replacement acreage to be completed before destruction is permitted.

Abner Kaplan

Baltimore

Ulcers and stress

I was delighted to read your May 4 article about the "discovery" that ulcers are due to chronic infection and thus should be treated by antibiotics as well as medication to reduce the inflammation.

While this new information will be of great benefit to many sufferers, it is not time, however, to diminish the role of high stress levels as a crucial factor in the development or maintenance of ulcers.

Psychosomatic symptoms can be approximately divided into two major groups, the first being symptoms resulting from chronic physiological arousal (that is, erosion over time affecting certain specific areas of the body), the second group resulting from a lowering of the body's resistance to all illness when our immune system is overwhelmed or compromised . . .

What is important to emphasize is that stress can lead to lowered resistance, which can then in turn lead to increased vulnerability to infection.

Unfortunately, many patients and even some doctors who treat them are still trying to treat the symptom, rather than the problem. An ulcer must still be considered a stress-related illness, despite the interesting new data.

Harold S. Steinitz

Towson

The writer is co-director, the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland.

Memories

Having been away from my native city for almost a decade, I recently experienced an unexpected sense of deja vu upon my arrival in Baltimore.

Leaving Pennsylvania Station, I boarded the light rail at the University of Baltimore stop near Howard Street, that same street where I had climbed aboard one of the last Baltimore streetcars.

That was a special "last trip" down Howard Street on that final day years ago.

Guided by my neighbor, a man who lived through the great Baltimore Fire and remembered it with never-ending embers, I knew it was a changing era for those who had used and lived with the street car system of Baltimore.

I couldn't help but talk about my last streetcar trip with a light-rail passenger.

Since we were about the same age, my story held particular interest to my co-rider.

I was surprised and amazed by the speed and convenience of light rail.

It brought back something I thought was destined to pass like Gwynn Oaks, street A-rabs and The Block.

James Seraphine

New York

Less for more

Hillary and President Clinton plan to alter our health care system so that it costs the working middle class more while providing fewer choices and less service.

When all is done, will the president, his family and the Congress be required to use the new system, or will they exempt themselves from the rules that the rest of the country must live by?

Lawrence Schaffer

Randallstown

Don't lock pets in hot cars

Now that the weather has turned warmer and summer is around the corner, I wanted to write to you to remind your readers that warm weather can have a deadly effect on a beloved pet.

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