It contains more than 70 recommendations for the river.
Frederick, Md (KM) Citizen comment will be accepted through the end of January on the Monocacy River Management Plan. The document was released in October, 2016, and replaces one that was adopted in 1990.
The new plan contains over 70 recommendations, including one to establish a Resource Protection Area along the Monocacy which extends 300 feet to 500 feet from the banks of the River inland. “The Resource Protection Area is an idea to make a larger buffer along the River where people will voluntarily improve the buffer. There will hopefully be resources that could be put to that to help them do that, plantings, whatever is needed,” says Jack Lynch, a member of the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board.
Some farmers and other landowners along the River are concerned that this Resource Protection Area would be an infringement on their private property rights. “It’s really not meant to harm anyone or do anything against anyone’s property rights,” says Lynch. “The Board explicitly stated that there would be no impacts on agriculture. As long as they’re using best management practices, they could continue operate exactly as they do today, within the current guidelines.”
Lynch also says most property owners along the Monocacy want to protect that waterway. “Most people naturally do that. Agriculture is pretty well required to do it. Most of the other private landowners, they enjoy and respect the beauty of the River and the fact that they have a special spot there. So you’re not going to dig it up and have it erode,” he says.
One of the challenges facing the River is the decreasing amount of trees near the banks which can prevent erosion and topsoil going into the water. Another recommendation in the plan is more reforestation. “As far reforestation, it’s voluntary,” says Lynch. “There’s nothing to require anyone to change what they would like to do with their land, except hopefully encourage them to do the right things.”
Other recommendations call for the creation of a community-based Monocacy Riverkeeper; increased public awareness about the river through public relations and educational programs; and enhanced stewardship of agricultural land in the River corridor for water quality protection.
Residents in Frederick and Carroll Counties who want to comment on the plan have until the end of January to submit their remarks.
Copies of the plan are available for reading and study at public libraries in Frederick, Walkersville, Thurmont and Taneytown. It’s also on line at www.frederickcountymd.gov/194/Monocacy-Scenic-River-Citizens-Board.
After that time, Lynch says the Board will meet and review the comments, and could make changes to the plan. It will then be submitted to governing bodies in the area, including the Frederick County Council and the Carroll County Commissioners.
He says the recommendations in the plan are advisory only. “It doesn’t cause anything to happen at all,” says Lynch. “It could be five or ten years before any of these things turn into any new regulations that require anyone to do anything.”
By Kevin McManus