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Letter: Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and Dyke Marsh

Volunteers remove trash and shopping carts from Little Hunting Creek on May 27.

Volunteers remove trash and shopping carts from Little Hunting Creek on May 27.

To the Editor:

Anyone who spends a few minutes examining scientific texts, journals, papers or historical literature on the natural history of the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed can recognize that these once great ecosystems are mere remnants of what they once were. The Potomac watershed covers four states and D.C. It is over 400 miles long and is 11 miles wide where it flows into the bay. The Chesapeake Bay watershed (the area of land that drains into the Bay) is 64,000 square miles and has 11,600 miles of tidal shoreline, including tidal wetlands and islands. The watershed encompasses parts of six states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as Washington D.C. The problems in the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay are magnified by their scope which is a reason why they are "most endangered." Unfortunately there will always be those people, who are operating at a very superficial level, who demand that everything scientific be both dumbed-down and rigorously argued to them.

Mr. H. Jay Spiegel in stating his rationale for his support of the most limited restoration plan proposed for Dyke Marsh argues that there are plenty of tidal wetlands in the area for citizens to enjoy and provides a photograph of tidal wetlands in Little Hunting Creek. The tidal wetlands at Dyke Marsh are open to public access with a combination of trails and a nearby public boat ramp where people can launch canoes and kayaks. On the site http://www.littlehuntingcreek.org I found the following. “Access to the creek for boating is not available to the public. There is no boat or canoe launch at nearby publicly-owned sites (Riverside Park, operated by the National Park Service). Ramps located within nearby neighborhoods are strictly limited to neighborhood residents.” There have been proposals in the past to provide a public access point for kayaks and canoes at a nearby sewage pumping station but as I recall, Mr. H. Jay Spiegel has been opposed to any such access.

On another note, many of those political agenda, environmental activist types volunteered for the second time this past Saturday May 27 to do a cleanup of Little Hunting Creek between the Janna Lee apartments and the Sequoya Condominiums near U.S. Route 1.

Apparently some people care enough about our ecological infrastructure to show up on a hot day and give freely of their time to make a difference in the quality of the environment even for areas of the local watersheds where citizens say no access for you.

To say that the Dyke Marsh wetlands area should have a diminished restoration plan because he sees wonderful tidal wetlands from his private view shed on Little Hunting Creek sounds to this reader like someone claiming foreign policy experience because they can see Russia from the Alaska coastline.

Martin W.Tillett

Mount Vernon