Partnerships are way to make conservation work for...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 15, 1999

Partnerships are way to make conservation work for everyone

The Conservation Fund agrees with The Sun that partnerships are the key to success in conservation today ("Lessons of a land deal," Aug 7).

The projects the editorial cited in the Northeast and on the Delmarva Peninsula -- which together involve 376,000 acres of wetlands, wildlife habitat, woodlands and working forests -- are clear evidence of the importance of cooperation and teamwork.

Both transactions are very complex and involve public agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, private investors and landowners. Each took months of work and required close cooperation between the Conservation Fund and a variety of partners with common goals, but differing interests and concerns.

The Delmarva project is the largest ever in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Its acquisitions will benefit the people and wildlife of the Chesapeake region by protecting water quality and retaining traditional land uses and landscapes.

From blue crabs to fox squirrels, from sailors and watermen to hikers and mill operators, the project is a winner for all of Maryland.

Hancock Timber Resources Group initiated the Delmarva project. They realized the acquisition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect important properties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and support the region's traditional forest economy.

We worked with the state and the Richard King Mellon Foundation to find conservation solutions that would blend economic and environmental goals.

We believe the current mix of state purchase of the most sensitive lands, and a subsequent gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation of the working forest lands, accomplishes that goal.

By working together, the state, the Hancock Timber Resources Group, the Mellon Foundation, and the nonprofit Conservation Fund are creating a land legacy that will benefit Marylanders now and in the future.

Jack Lynn

Alexandria, Va.

The writer is senior associate at the Conservation Fund.

More highways will bring more sprawl, congestion

In his recent letter, "More drivers are coming" (July 24), Robert Latham, the director of Marylanders for Effective and Safe Highways (MESH), misrepresented the beliefs of professional environmentalists and Marylanders alike.

One of Maryland's most powerful special interest groups is developers and contractors whose profits depend on continued overdevelopment. In MESH, they have created a front group that is leading the efforts to increase state funding for sprawl-inducing highways.

At the same time, it seeks to gut funding for alternative transportation that many respected groups, ranging from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to Maryland's Office of Planning, believe could help curb sprawl.

The forests and farmlands at the heart of Maryland's character and quality of life are threatened by overdevelopment. Loss of open space is destroying critical habitat for plants and animals and increasing air pollution and traffic congestion.

If we are to achieve a more livable Maryland, the state must promote land-use planning that redirects growth to already developed areas.

We must also support alternative transportation both between cities and within communities and halt funding for wasteful highways that cut through open space and accelerate sprawl.

David A. Bigham

Baltimore

Are we blaming the deer for our overpopulation?

Again The Sun has reported that the deer population in Howard County is causing problems ("Deer woes spur hunt," Aug. 1). The deer are said to cause 1,000 traffic accidents a year.

But the responsibility doesn't fall entirely on the deer. Shouldn't we look at the number of automobiles?

Has anyone considered that maybe humans should take some responsibility for controlling their own overpopulation?

Instead of blaming the animals, let's look at our own selfish lifestyles and our responsibility for taking so much land that once belonged to animals.

What a sad society we have become when we think the "cure" for the deer is to send in trophy-seeking hunters to handle a problem caring people would handle in a more compassionate manner.

Patricia Levie

Baltimore

Trying to make sense of water-use restrictions

Am I the only person in Maryland who thinks that, concerning the water-use restrictions, the governor is running this state like the Gestapo would?

Providing phone numbers for citizens to rat on their neighbors, having the police pound on the door of a family in the middle of the night that legally rinsed the salt water off their boat ("River water flows to city," Aug. 10) -- where will it end?

Too bad some of those same tattletales wouldn't report neighbors dealing drugs in their backyard.

Janet Witman

Towson

Now let me get this straight: I can wash a boat in front of my house, but I can't wash my car.

Would someone please explain the logic behind that to me?

Michael M. Mehring

Baltimore

Taxing assets, not income would be more fair

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