Pasadena couple fighting to save eroding Rock Creek beach and White Pond

December 22, 1993|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

Janet and Scotty Staude can remember when the children of Rock Creek Beach Community could dive off piers into six feet of water and boats could motor freely around White Pond.

"But that was 30 years ago," said Mrs. Staude, 55. "Today, that same pond is knee-high deep, eroded and dangerous."

But the Staudes aren't giving up their Pasadena waterfront without a fight. The senior couple have been battling nature ever since they noticed the first signs of erosion.

White Pond in Pasadena, fed by the waters of Rock Creek, started eroding four years ago, when the sand reefs that outline it began breaking apart. The reefs, covered with thick swamp grass, prevented sediment, mud and debris from filtering in from Rock Creek.

The 100-foot sand reef that once separated Rock Creek from White Pond has now a 30-foot gash in it, allowing sand to flood into the pond.

Because of that break, the entire expanse of White Hall pond can be crossed without touching water.

"You can always divert nature," said Mr. Staude, 65. "Just because nature says the water has to go one way doesn't mean we can't try to push it the other way."

And that's exactly what the Staudes hope to do.

They've been trying to raise money to help save the eroding beach and the pond area through community fund-raisers.

In three years, the Staudes have raised more than $3,000. In October, the couple raised $900 at a community dance. But that isn't enough to fix the gaping hole in the reef, they say.

To plug the hole effectively and protect the reef with thousands of large rocks, the community needs $50,000. It also has to sit out a three-year waiting period for a permit to do so.

But Mrs. Staude said the part of the community living off the water doesn't want to help with the bill and that the waterfront community, with 15 houses, can't foot it alone. "It's a Catch-22. I know we can do something, but I can't expect the outside community to help," she said.

"For most, community interest in saving the pond stops at the boat ramp," Mr. Staude said.

The Staudes have also asked for county and federal assistance, but Del. Charles Kolodziejski and Rep. Helen Delich Bentley have told them the money is not available.

"If this gets any worse, we won't have much of a waterfront property left," Mrs. Staude said. "The value of our homes will go down and we will no longer have anywhere for our grandchildren to play."

Mr. Staude said the pond is too dangerous for swimming and boating. Last summer, he had to be pulled out of four feet of mud by his wife and two others.

The Staudes have had to get their boat motor repaired several times after the propellers struck sand.

Mr. Staude fears that if funds to save the waterfront cannot be raised or donated within 10 years, White Pond will become marshland. The Staudes, who call themselves "water people who can't stand to see the fish die with the water," say they would leave before that happened.

Each day, the Staudes say, they stare out their window and grieve for their dying waterfront with its family memories.

Mrs. Staude reminds Gov. William Donald Schaefer: "You say beautify Maryland, Mr. Governor. I say, well here it is -- and you have forgotten us."

Anyone interested in helping White Pond and the Rock Creek Beach Community can call 255-5069.

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