Letter: We Are All Environmentalists

Letter: We Are All Environmentalists

— To the Editor:

On the front page of the website of Friends of Dyke Marsh (www.fodm.org), the following is stated:

"Friends of Dyke Marsh is a volunteer group dedicated to preserving and enhancing Dyke Marsh, the last enduring substantial freshwater tidal marsh in the Washington, D.C. capital area, located on the Potomac River just south of Alexandria, Virginia."

Over the past several weeks, the Gazette has published my photos of substantial freshwater tidal marshes in our area, in Little Hunting Creek, Broad Creek, Piscataway Creek, in the Potomac River adjacent the mouth of Little Hunting Creek, and at Mason Neck. This week, I've provided a photo [below] of the most impressive substantial freshwater tidal marsh in our area, that of Mattawoman Creek. Mattawoman Creek is easily accessible from Sweden Point Marina. In fact, every one of the marshes depicted in my photos is easily accessible by canoe or kayak from a nearby marina or launch area. Mattawoman Creek boasts an incredibly beautiful waterway that undulates back and forth through freshwater tidal marshes for well over a mile, leading to a deep lagoon boasting a sandy beach.

So why does the Friends of Dyke Marsh continue to try to perpetuate the myth that Dyke Marsh is the "last enduring substantial freshwater tidal marsh" in our area? I surmise the reason is actually quite simple — Dyke Marsh is within a national park, so our tax money can be appropriated to "restore" it if the government can be convinced of its rarity.

Regardless of political persuasion, I don't know anyone I wouldn't consider to be an environmentalist. I also don't know anyone who would oppose, at minimum, preserving Dyke Marsh at its current size. At the same time, I don't know any responsible person who believes the citizenry should sign off on a plan of restoration of Dyke Marsh without first being apprised of the estimated costs. But that is exactly what the National Park Service is doing, by presenting three restoration options for our consideration without any cost analysis, and asking we taxpayers to cast our votes. That train left the station on June 20, 2012 with the end of the comment period and the NPS will eventually let us know which option will be pursued. When will we find out how much it will cost? Can we take another vote if the cost is prohibitive? Why has NPS placed the cart squarely before the horse?

Doesn't FODM understand, under the leadership of its president and chief lobbyist Glenda Booth, that when it continues to stubbornly try to perpetuate a falsehood, it ruins its credibility across the board? Like when its leaders continue to proclaim, as Ms. Booth and others did this week at the master planning hearing for Westgrove Park, that there is a wildlife corridor from Mount Vernon District Park to Dyke Marsh, despite the presence of (1) Fort Hunt Road, (2) a high chain link fence completely surrounding Westgrove Park, (3) the intervening land of River Towers, (4) The four-lane George Washington Parkway, and (5) its bike path. Wonders never cease.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon